Transparency News 4/10/15

Transparency News is brought to you by the
Virginia Coalition for Open Government
View this email in your browser
Friday, April 10, 2015

State and Local Stories

As Richmond finance workers and outside auditors race to finish a routine financial report that was due to the state by Nov. 30, the costs associated with the delay are mounting. The city’s anticipated payments to a Las Vegas-based consultant hired on an emergency basis in July to ensure the timely completion of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report have risen from $95,000 to $295,000 under a contract extension approved last month. Meanwhile, city officials say they are bracing for overage on a $320,000 base contract with the firm hired to audit Richmond’s financials and expect to pay a higher rate for the same services next year.

Virginia Beach jail’s former medical provider agreed to pay $600,000 to settle a lawsuit by the family of an inmate who died under unusual circumstances almost four years ago, according to a confidential settlement released after a court fight. Conmed Inc. and the family of Jacquelynn Schwartz agreed in June to the settlement, which included no admittance of liability by the medical provider or the three nurses named in the suit. The parties deemed the agreement confidential, and it wasn’t included in the court record in Newport News Circuit Court, where the action was filed. nmed fought back, saying it planned to appeal all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court. The company withdrew the pending appeal last month and added the settlement agreement to the file. The document included no new details about the case but included a confidentiality clause barring the parties and their representatives from discussing it other than to say it had been resolved.
National Stories

Putting the checkbooks of cities, counties, villages, townships and schools online, Ohio Auditor Dave Yost says, could accomplish that rarest of things: restoring Ohioans faith in government. Yost and Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel pitched a plan on Tuesday for the state to partner with thousands of government entities to put spending records, or checkbooks, online for taxpayers to see. The service would be provided by Mandel's office at no charge to the local governments. Yost, a former county prosecutor and newspaper reporter, said the online proposal is a nonpartisan issue that could be the "most important transparency initiative since the original public-records law." He noted that faith in government has eroded sharply over several decades.

Jurors have completed deliberations for a third day in the murder trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez, on a day when the judge banned a Boston TV cameraman for following jurors to their parking spots. Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh banned Robert Cusanelli of WHDH-TV from the courthouse on Thursday. He acknowledged on questioning from a lawyer for the station that he decided to find out where the jurors were parking. He said he didn't talk to them or take their pictures. The judge said that was prohibited and could have caused a mistrial.
Fox News