Transparency News 4/19/19



April 19, 2019


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state & local news stories


“One of the things I value is people’s voices.” 

For the third straight year, nearly a quarter of the public schools in Richmond will have a new principal next school year. Chief of staff Michelle Hudacsko declined to say which principals are losing their positions and would not provide copies of the principal improvement plans, which she said were personnel matters. The Richmond Times-Dispatch has confirmed the names of seven of the 10 principals set to leave their posts at the end of the school year.
Richmond Times-Dispatch

Recent miscalculations to the tune of 30 million dollars for three new Richmond public schools have drawn public scrutiny into the school construction process. Last April, Richmond’s school board voted to create a group called the Joint Construction Team (JCT) to oversee school construction. The group includes the chief administrative officer, the mayor’s chief of staff, the superintendent, the RPS board chair and other representatives from each agency. School board chair Dawn Page said the district had been posting public notices ahead of the meetings. But the district hasn’t been doing that. The meetings are not listed in monthly rundown of district meetings for March or April. They also aren’t posted under the “meeting notices” heading on the district’s website. A spokesperson for the district said the meetings were public and that an error had occurred with postings related to this group. She said she thought the error had since been corrected last week. But the meeting notices still have not been posted.

The Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors on Thursday turned down a new juvenile jail near Windsor, in a surprise vote following months of outcry from residents opposed to the project. The vote was 3-2 to reject the deal. Chairman William M. McCarty cast the decisive vote to reject the terms and conditions worked out by county administrators and the state. McCarty’s dramatic vote — which came after four other board members had split 2 to 2 — caused most of the the crowd of 180 people who came out to oppose the project to stand and applause in jubilation. “I’ve watched men on this board subject to personal attacks — all of them — which are undue,” he said. “I know these men to be men of integrity.” “And I vehemently object to the things that have been spewed about these men,” McCarty said. But though the chairman said the state project was a good one and brought many jobs, the community is also a good one. He decided to rescind his support for it after hearing from residents. “How can good and good not be compatible? I don’t know.” “One of the things I value is people’s voices,” McCarty said.
Daily Press


stories of national interest

Peachtree City, Georgia, officials are considering passing a law that would allow them to sue anyone on social media who they believe have defamed them. The ordinance, set to come before the Peachtree City council on Thursday, would allow a council member, the city manager or any city worker to sue its residents, at taxpayer expense, for damages. "Whereas in the normal execution of their duties, elected and appointed officials and employees of the city may be subject to unwarranted public defamation when formal complaints are unwarranted and … the City Council deems it in the best interest of the city to indemnify, defend and protect city elected and appointed officials … Peachtree City shall fund legal action on the part of any elected official, appointed official, or employee … who has been defamed in a public media outlet," the ordinance says. "It's a brave new world," City Manager Jon Rorie told The Citizen. "It's not about people criticizing. It's about being defamed."
Patch Atlanta

A Cook County, Illinois, judge Monday lifted part of her previous order prohibiting ProPublica Illinois from publishing some details of a child welfare case it has been investigating, conceding that the restriction was “overbroad.” At the same time, Patricia Martin, the presiding judge of the Cook County Juvenile Court’s child protection division, continued to block the news organization from publishing the names or pictures of the minors involved in the case. While acknowledging the constitutional right of ProPublica Illinois to publish, the judge ruled that her restriction on disclosing the identities is necessary to protect the children.
ProPublica Illinois