Transparency News, 6/9/2022


June 9, 2022

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
Contact us at


state & local news stories


Chadwick Dotson was appointed to chair the parole board five months ago. He had served as a judge on general district and circuit courts in Wise County and had recently begun work as Dean of Students and a professor at the Appalachian School of Law. Dotson insists on a greater degree of transparency. Previous board members decided the fate of applicants independently – never debating their applications for parole but meeting monthly to cast their votes in private. “We’ve tried to open it up. We’re having weekly meetings. actually discussing cases, which is a novel thing.”

Charlottesville may go another a year without a permanent city manager. Charlottesville City Council has renewed its contract with the Robert Bobb Group for an additional six months to continue providing interim city management services. The Monday vote extends the contract with Bobb which has been in effect since January. The contract was initially set to expire June 30. The Bobb contract will now end Dec. 31. According to Council Clerk Kyna Thomas and City Attorney Lisa Robertson, the contract renewal aligns with the original management contract and only the timeline has changed to reflect the new six-month extension. City spokesman David Dillehunt said the monetary amount being paid to the Robert Bobb Group for the extension is $155,000. However, the city does not pay Michael C. Rogers a salary directly. “The Robert Bobb Group determines how much of that total amount is paid to Mr. Rogers for his services,” Dillehunt said in an email. The Robert Bobb Group did not respond to a request from The Daily Progress for Rogers’ salary by press time.
The Daily Progress

Loudoun County Supervisor Caleb E. Kershner (R-Catoctin) on June 7 once again mounted an objection to the ceremonial resolution recognizing June as Pride Month in Loudoun. The resolution was removed from among seven other ceremonial resolutions on the Board of Supervisors’ consent agenda, a package of noncontroversial votes taken without discussion at the same time, including Racy Amity Day, Homeownership Month, and recognizing the Loudoun Foster Parents of the Year and the Cool Spring Elementary PTA. Any single supervisor may pull an item from the consent agenda. Kershner said the resolution violated the board’s Rules of Order, which hold that resolutions should be non-controversial.

stories of national interest


"Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, along with the Muskego Area Chamber of Commerce and the New Berlin Chamber of Commerce, sued to block the release of the records, saying it would 'irreparably harm' the reputations of their members."

A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday said the state health department can release data on coronavirus outbreak cases, information sought two years ago near the beginning of the pandemic. The court ruled 4-3 against Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state's largest business lobbying group, which had wanted to block release of the records requested in June 2020 by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other news outlets. The state health department in the early months of the pandemic in 2020 had planned to release the names of more than 1,000 businesses with more than 25 employees where at least two workers have tested positive for COVID-19. Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, along with the Muskego Area Chamber of Commerce and the New Berlin Chamber of Commerce, sued to block the release of the records, saying it would "irreparably harm" the reputations of their members. It argued that the information being sought is derived from diagnostic test results and the records of contact tracers, and that such information constitutes private medical records that can't be released without the consent of each individual. Attorneys for the state argued that the information contained aggregate numbers only, not personal information, and could be released.
Star Tribune

A draft ordinance for short-term rentals in Sidney Township (Michigan) is moving forward to a public hearing in September, and some planning commissioners don’t want to make the draft available to the general public until then. The Daily News was able to receive a copy of the draft ordinance after pressing the issue, as well as sending a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Township Trustee Ray Leyrer showed the Daily News a Michigan Townships Association “Checklist of Steps for Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment” from 2006 which states in step No. 8: “At a regular or special meeting, Planning Commission formally opens public hearing on proposed amendment.” To the Daily News, this statement simply details the process for opening a public hearing meeting; however, Leyrer said his interpretation of this statement meant the draft ordinance could not go public before then unless it was via a FOIA request. Leyrer asked the Daily News not to publish the draft ordinance online as he believes anyone who wants a copy should be made to request one via FOIA individually. However, the Daily News declined this request as one of the newspaper’s jobs is to make public information easily and widely available to residents.
The Daily News

An effort by Alex Murdaugh's lawyers to stop the release of outgoing phone calls made while the embattled attorney was behind bars (on charges that he murdered his wife and son, and possibly three other people) was unsuccessful, according to a court order issued June 1. Senior United States District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie denied the effort from attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin to block recordings of the calls from being released under South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from various news organizations, including ABC News 4. Murdaugh's team argued that disclosing the recordings to the public violates Title III of The Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (Wiretap Act).