Transparency News 3/4/13

Monday, March 4, 2013

State and Local Stories

Washington Post: The University of Virginia’s president and governing board leader have, in public, maintained an air of united collegiality for the past eight months, hoping to move beyond the summer’s leadership crisis. Out of sight, tension has continued to build between U-Va. President Teresa Sullivan and U-Va. Board of Visitors Rector Helen Dragas as they struggle for control of the university’s agenda and priorities, according to several people close to the situation and emails obtained by the Post. Sullivan and Dragas were provided copies of e-mails obtained by The Post, and neither disputed their authenticity. The university declined to release drafts of the president’s goals and Dragas’s additions, saying that they are “confidential personnel records” exempt from the state’s open-records law.
(Of note…)William H. Goodwin Jr., a Richmond businessman who was recently appointed to the board, said that differences of opinion and discussion are central to a healthy governing board. He was angry that the internal e-mail was shared with The Post and argued that the news media should not report on issues that cast U-Va. in a poor light. He said there is no tension between the board and the administration. “You are making a mountain of a molehill,” Goodwin said. “My involvement is really going smoothly. The only deterrent is the Freedom of Information Act,” he said, and state laws that require the board to meet publicly.
(Also of note…)Dozens of U-Va. staff members set aside other responsibilities and worked through the holiday season to create a financial plan and vet it with board members, according to several staff members. The finished report was more than 100 pages long and proposed multiple revenue sources, including charging varying tuition rates depending on a student’s year or major, according to several people who have read the plan. The university declined to release a copy of the report, saying it is still in draft form and, therefore, exempt from the state’s open-records law. (FOIA applies to draft records, too.)

Star-Exponent: As anticipated, legal action could be pending in the ex-town manager's launch of a multi-month internal investigation of a top cop. According to former Culpeper Town Manager Kim Alexander, the attorney of Culpeper Police Capt. Chris Settle last week posted a letter on her door indicating that if she did not contact him by Wednesday to work something out they would proceed with legal action.

Register & Bee: A new, federally-mandated digital emergency 911 system that will replace Pittsylvania County’s outdated analog network will begin operating this summer, according to county officials. The $13 million, 700-megahertz system — expected to begin service by early August — will run simultaneously with the old one for 30-60 days so officials can ensure the stability of the new digital network, said Jim Davis, the county’s emergency services coordinator.

Leesburg Today: Last week, the Town of Leesburg launched a new citizen self-service portal on the town website that allows residents, taxpayers and customers to view and pay taxes and utility bills online. The new portal can be accessed at