Transparency News 7/12/18



July 12, 2018


Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


state & local news stories


Citizens, media representatives, public officials, and public employees with an interest in learning more about access to public records under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) are invited to register for one of these free training presentations.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The training will be held from 2:00 - 3:30 PM on each of the above dates in House Committee Room 300A of the Pocahontas Building located at 900 E. Main Street Richmond, VA 23219, near the Virginia State Capitol.

If all goes according to schedule, the Winchester Police Department’s new body-worn camera program might roll out publicly early next month. The revised policy specifies when and how cameras should be used, and how captured video should be reviewed, classified and stored. No one attended a public meeting on Wednesday at Rouss City Hall to discuss the cameras and the policy. Piper, Maj. Kelly Rice and Winchester Commonwealth’s Attorney Marc Abrams were present to answer questions. Piper said he wasn’t surprised no one showed. He noted the cameras were discussed in detail at a June 28 news conference, which was streamed on the police department’s Facebook page, where it can be replayed. Piper’s briefing to council members on Tuesday was broadcast live on Winchester’s cable access channel and can be watched on the city’s website.
The Winchester Star

A review of receipts and expenditures for the Pittsylvania County Department of Social Services revealed thousands of tax dollars are spent annually by DSS for hotels, clothes, parties, events, seminars, workshops, transports, and vehicles among other charges. Receipts obtained by the Star-Tribune contained charges on Visa cards issued to DSS employees. Each month those charges are packaged and reviewed by the DSS board for approval. After attending three meetings from April to June 2018, no member including board of supervisors’ member and DSS board liaison Ron Scearce has spoken up to question any of the charges. “The reports are so generic that they’re hard to hold accountable for,” Scearce said. In an interview with the Star-Tribune, Director Sherry Flanagan was able to explain some of the charges, however others were more difficult because clients have to be kept private.


stories of national interest

Clean Missouri released a new report on the lack of transparency in the General Assembly, by the numbers — with some colorful stories. Official meetings are supposed to be open to the public, but there have been government meetings held in private country clubs, and journalists have even been denied access to public hearings. The state Legislature even keeps its own records secret, yet expects others to follow open government laws.