Transparency News, 7/23/20



July 23, 2020

There was no issue of the newsletter yesterday, July 22.


state & local news stories


Nominations for VCOG's media awards are open for another week. Details here.

The City of Richmond agreed to pay a contractor 1.8 million dollars to mobilize men and equipment and perform five days worth of work to relocate 11 Confederate "statues" owned by the city, according to contracts and invoices received by CBS 6 through a FOIA request. NAH LLC said in its proposal it would cost $900,000 to mobilize the necessary men and equipment to Richmond, and estimated it would cost an additional $900,000 for five days worth of work.  Each day of work cost the city $180,000 so the contractor could keep the "necessary manpower and equipment on standby in, or very near the City of Richmond, ready to work at the direction of the City from 12:01 on July 1, 2020 to 11:59 p.m. on July 9, 2020." The signed proposal goes on to read that "the City agrees to pay $180,000 per day for this time regardless if crews are on standby or working on the relocations."

An attorney for a Collinsville businessman has filed a notice of a claim for damages to the city of Martinsville as a result of its involvement in a personal dispute between the businessman and a member of City Council. Tim Anderson, attorney for Ray Reynolds, sent notice to City Manager Leon Towarnicki in a letter dated July 21 and explained it as the first step in a matter that may be decided in court.
Martinsville Bulletin

What started off as a quiet night at the Waynesboro School Board meeting — the members were in closed session for the first 50 minutes — ended with shouting and accusations that citizens of Waynesboro were not given a voice.  A very small, but also very vocal, contingent of those in attendance Wednesday night were angry that there was no public comment period at the meeting. The main purpose of the meeting was a chance to review the school reopening plan. Wednesday night's fireworks began when school board member Debra Freeman-Belle told those in the audience that they would be able to ask questions through a survey that she hoped to make available early next week.  Someone in the audience asked Freeman-Belle, "You've got all of these parents who came out here to speak to y'all and we've got to send an email?" "The issue with public comment tonight is that, by law, we're required to give a three-day notice to be able to have a meeting with public comment," Freeman-Belle said.
News Leader

stories of national interest

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office ruled the Texas Health and Human Services Commission should disclose most of its data on COVID-19 in nursing homes to the public, according to a July 6 ruling. Paxton’s office rejected most of the arguments the commission made to conceal COVID-19 outbreak data related to nursing homes, according to a news release from the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, which has fought for the records. The information that may be released includes the names of specific nursing homes with COVID-19 cases, according to FOIFT and the AG’s ruling.