Transparency News 7/30/19



July 30, 2019


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state & local news stories

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Transparency Virginia's 2019 report on legislative transparency

As Virginia commemorates the birth of representative democracy here in VCOG's home district today, check out how the General Assembly fared with regard to transparency during the 2019 legislative session. The fifth annual review by Transparency Virginia is online here.

Charlottesville City Council will hold an all-day retreat Wednesday to discuss City Manager Tarron Richardson’s first two months in office, the management of council meetings and communication between councilors. Communication between councilors was a sticking point at the last retreat. Some councilors were dismayed that their interactions or criticisms of each other would be posted online. At the end of the last retreat, a facilitator proposed eight ground rules to guide council interactions, but councilors only agreed to one — “seek clarification.” Councilor and former mayor Mike Signer will discuss collective management of council meetings. Signer, who caught flak for his handling of public comment leading up to the Aug. 12, 2017, Unite the Right rally, has been critical of meeting conduct under current Mayor Nikuyah Walker and the topic was discussed in December. Speakers at council meetings sometimes exceed their three-minute time limit, and shouts and outbursts from audience members are common. Walker has said she allows leeway in public comment because meetings have historically not been a place for underrepresented segments of the community to speak.
The Daily Progress

Nearly three weeks after she was expelled by fellow Amherst Town Council members in a controversial decision, Janice Wheaton has filed to run for the seat in a Nov. 5 special election. Wheaton, the embattled first-year town official who was ousted by four other councilors following a July 10 closed session meeting for reasons the town hasn’t explained, filed paperwork Monday to run for the vacant seat. The town filed a petition July 18 for the special election to have voters decide a replacement. Amherst County Circuit Court Judge Michael Garrett approved the request Friday. Wheaton, who was elected with 511 votes in the Nov. 6, 2018, election and joined council as one of two new members in January, seemed confused about the reasoning behind the highly unusual decision just after it was made, according to a recording of the final four minutes of the meeting obtained Monday by the Amherst New Era-Progress through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The News & Advance


stories of national interest

While college students are often idealistic and driven to get into public service when they graduate, they frequently don’t consider working for government agencies. To help repair this disconnect, the Volcker Alliance is rolling out a new initiative that focuses in large part on the university to government pipeline. The aim is to make it easier for agencies at the federal, state and local levels to find fresh talent, while getting leaders from different branches of government together in different regions around the country to identify what they need locally.
Route Fifty