Transparency News 2/6/19



February 6, 2019


Follow the bills that VCOG follows on our annual legislative bill chart.


state & local news stories




Yesterday was Crossover Day at the General Assembly and more than half the bills on VCOG's annual chart did not make it through. Check out the updated chart.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney quietly parted ways with his top economic development deputy last fall as the mayor prepared to announce his support for the $1.4 billion Coliseum redevelopment project. The official, Lee Downey, was working as Stoney’s deputy chief administrative officer for economic development, a role that put him at the negotiating table as Stoney’s administration reviewed the sweeping plans submitted by the NH District Corp. He received $38,750 in severance pay, Stoney's spokesperson Jim Nolan said. Under city policy, severance is paid to employees who are dismissed. It is calculated based on years of employment. For senior officials, the policy also allows the chief administrative officer to negotiate separation agreements when she determines striking one “would be in the best in interest of the city.” Nolan declined to provide a copy of the city's agreement with Downey, citing a discretionary exemption in the state’s open records law that allows public bodies to withhold personnel records.
Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richard Homan, president of Eastern Virginia Medical School, apologized on behalf of the institution for what he said was a pattern of “shockingly racist” photos in the school’s yearbooks, including a photo on Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 yearbook page, at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. The school has hired former state attorney general Richard Cullen and a team of lawyers from the McGuireWoods law firm to investigate the medical school’s past and current culture surrounding race and has appointed three people to a community advisory board that will work in parallel on the investigation. Cullen will consult with George Martin, a managing partner in the law firm’s Richmond office who was the first African-American rector on the University of Virginia’s board of visitors. He said that the results of the investigation will be released in a single report to both the school’s board of visitors and to the public.
Richmond Times-Dispatch

The Warren County Board of Supervisors approved more lenient public comment period rules Tuesday but failed to align its policies and procedures guidelines with the county code, which officials originally said was the goal of any proposed changes. Mark Egger informed the supervisors that the county’s code and the supervisors’ procedures and guidelines were in conflict when the board attempted to cut off his comments during a November meeting regarding the actions of the former Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development executive director.
The Northern Virginia Daily


stories of national interest

A report published this week by an organization representing state government mapping officials found that election officials across the United States are gradually adopting greater use of geographic information system technology in their processes. But it also shows most voter registration systems and precinct boundaries have a long way to go before they can be supported by map data. The report, issued by the National States Geographic Information Council, is the latest step for the organization’s Geo-Enabled Elections project, a two-year research initiative focused on making the maps that dictate where people vote more reliable using GIS technology.
State Scoop