Transparency News, 5/6/2022



May 6, 2022

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state & local news stories


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Privacy v. right to know
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General Assembly update
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Henrico County Board of Supervisors Chairman and Tuckahoe District Supervisor Patricia S. O’Bannon will host a Tuckahoe Town Meeting on Thursday, May 26 to discuss the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, which ensures that residents have ready access to public records and meetings. O’Bannon will be joined by Megan Rhyne, executive director of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, and Cari Tretina, Henrico’s chief of staff. In addition to explaining ways to request Henrico records, Tretina will discuss opportunities for county internships.
Henrico Citizen

The Hanover County School Board will discuss possible changes to the district's policies for transgender students and the lawsuits it faces from parents during a closed meeting Thursday. The board plans to meet with its legal counsel in a closed session at 6 p.m. to talk about "probable and pending litigation," including one lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Virginia on behalf of parents of transgender students, and "possible amendments to policy as it relates to transgender students." There are no other agenda items for Thursday's meeting and no public comment period will take place. The board will return to an open meeting once the closed session is complete to certify the closed meeting.

What was supposed to be a straight-forward meeting of city council members interviewing applicants for its equity and diversity board turned into a muddy argument about data leaked about applicants. City council spent over an hour before and after equity and diversity board interviews arguing about the validity, future and diversity of the commission.  After council member Brenda Mead's motion to enter an executive session last week to discuss the commission was shot down, she spoke openly about how the finalists for the commission are mostly white and have higher than the average income in Staunton.  She later confirmed this information with The News Leader. Now, she may no longer be a liaison to the commission.  "What you did at the last meeting, Ms. Mead, was absolutely egregious in the max," Vice Mayor Mark Robertson said in reference to Mead sharing some of the demographic information about finalists last week
News Leader

editorials & columns

"Our government has not always seen good times, but the work of its professionals is leading to a better and just society for all of us to enjoy and thrive in."

Whether on the front lines or behind the scenes, public service professionals are everywhere, working to improve our lives and democracy as a whole. From public school teachers to nonprofit directors to conservationists, these people apply policy and tackle some of the biggest challenges our society faces. Much of the spotlight often is on elected officials: the people who craft the policies that guide our nation at home and abroad. But what about the people who make these policies work? Shouldn’t they be held in high regard? During Public Service Recognition Week (May 1-7), we should not only thank these professionals but think of their work. Think of their sacrifices for the betterment of our communities. Think about a government without democratic values ruling over our lives, wreaking havoc and marginalizing our people. Our government has not always seen good times, but the work of its professionals is leading to a better and just society for all of us to enjoy and thrive in.
Owen Ferguson, Richmond Times-Dispatch