Transparency News 6/7/19



June 7, 2019


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state & local news stories


A company that filed an appeal after it was denied one of Virginia’s five medical cannabis licenses, accusing the state board of making an unfair decision after a process cloaked in secrecy, will have its case heard Friday in Henrico County Circuit Court. New Age Care, an LLC registered in Roanoke, filed the appeal in Henrico earlier this year, saying its application scored higher than the one filed by Dharma Pharmaceuticals, the Bristol company that last year was awarded the only dispensary permit available in Southwest Virginia. The appeal asks the court to overrule the Virginia Board of Pharmacy’s decision to grant the license to Dharma and give the license to New Age instead. In its filing, New Age argues that the pharmacy board’s process was so opaque and unintelligible it produced an “arbitrary and capricious” result. “The Board has not released the applications it considered or any explanation for why New Age was denied a conditional permit despite outscoring Dharma Pharmaceuticals by a significant margin,” lawyers for the company said in the appeal filed Feb. 21.  The New Age appeal also accused the board of violating Virginia’s open-meetings law by citing “irrelevant” justifications for going into closed session to discuss the applications. The board cited a Freedom of Information Act exemption for discussion of prospective business moves “where no previous announcement has been made.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch (paywall)

The candidates to be Staunton's next city manager are overwhelmingly male and mostly from out-of-state, according to new information from the city of Staunton. Staunton launched its search for a new city manager this spring, after the long-time civil servant who holds the position announced that he would retire June 30. The city opted to hire a private citizen – rather than a search firm – to find his replacement and plans to make an offer to a candidate by June 15. So who applied for the job? Take a look at the charts below to learn more about the pool of candidates hoping to be Staunton's next city manager, according to information from the city of Staunton.
News Leader

After Metro’s ethics investigation into board Chairman Jack Evans was quietly closed last month, Northern Virginia Transportation Commission Chairman Matt Letourneau is calling for the findings to be made public. A draft letter to Metro the Loudoun County supervisor is set to present to the commission Thursday night expresses serious concerns about the accusations against Evans — without actually using Evans’ name.


stories of national interest

A Wisconsin appeals court has affirmed that officials must provide copies of electronic records in their original format. The decision, released Wednesday, upholds a lower court’s order requiring state Rep. Scott Krug, R-Wisconsin Rapids, to turn over electronic copies of emails requested by The Progressive magazine editor Bill Lueders. Krug printed out copies of the emails Lueders requested to read and refused a follow-up request for the electronic records, saying the paper copies were “substantially as readable” as the originals. In a unanimous decision, the appeals court wrote, “Krug’s appeal falters right out of the gate due to his erroneous reading” of state law, which says the “substantially as readable” provision applies only when the requester shows up in person, which Lueders did not.

Quentin Jackson spoke at length about malfunctions of the Town of Hertford's (NC) computer systems during a meeting Monday, making eye contact with all of his fellow council members except one. His nemesis, Sid Eley. An actual wall separates them since the two argued after a meeting in October and a punch was thrown. Jackson has appealed a district court conviction in January of striking a government official, "hitting him on the left side of the temple with a closed fist," according to a court document. "He got into my face," Jackson, 33, said earlier Monday.
The Virginian-Pilot




editorials & columns


We don’t have a particular opinion one way or another whether Arlington County Board members should vote themselves a pay raise – or at least raise the current ceiling on their compensation – as was brought up for discussion last month and potentially will be acted on shortly. But we do wish they’d have the, ahem, testicular fortitude to simply say they believe they’re worth the extra cash and approve it, rather than setting up a Rube Goldberg-esque “community-engagement process” to try and get the public (or at least those in the public who are engaged in local governance) to try and provide political cover.
Arlington Sun Gazette