Transparency News, 8/10/2022


August 10, 2022

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
Contact us at


state & local news stories


"Outside the meeting room after he resigned, McFadden described the council as a 'kangaroo court.' Holloway stated,'As far as him referring to the meeting as a kangaroo court…..looks to me the kangaroo has left the building.'"

Charlottesville’s Police Civilian Oversight Board was formed after the 2017 “summer of hate,” and now, five years later, it has its first case. To be able to schedule a hearing at all, the board had to first establish bylaws, operating procedures and an ordinance. City Council approved the latest ordinance last December, which took effect in March 2022. The preparation for the hearing helped show how civilian police review in Charlottesville works. Board Chair William Mendez said that the group held mock hearings to prepare and was granted access to the police department’s internal files and audiovisual materials related to the case. “I think that the idea that those were made available to outside observers, that is the PCOB, it’s a very important event in police oversight,” said Mendez.  This helps with the transparency with the community that the board wants to build. If the police chief chooses to not take the civilian board’s recommended actions, he or she will have to provide written explanation to the board, the City Manager and the public. 
Charlottesville Tomorrow

The Front Royal Town Council and the mayor have forced out Town Manager Steven Hicks after 20 months on the job. During a work session Monday night, Mayor Christopher W. Holloway broke Town Council’s 3-3 tie vote to approve a motion to terminate Hicks’ contract. Council members Gary L. Gillispie, Zachary Jackson and Amber F. Morris voted in favor of terminating Hicks’ contract. Vice Mayor Lori A. Cockrell and council members Joseph E. McFadden and Letasha T. Thompson voted against the motion. After the vote, Hicks stood up from his chair, gathered papers and other items. McFadden then rose from his chair and said “I resign.” Both men then walked out of the council meeting room. Council members took action after they met behind closed doors for roughly an hour and 40 minutes during which they addressed the performances of Hicks and Interim Town Attorney James Cornwell Jr. Council members also voted at the Monday work session on a motion to direct Holloway to request that Cornwall resign. Council members and the mayor made no comments after approving the two motions. They then proceeded to conduct the work session discussions. Outside the meeting room after he resigned, McFadden described the council as a “kangaroo court.” “As far as him referring to the meeting as a kangaroo court…..looks to me the kangaroo has left the building,” Holloway stated.
The Northern Virginia Daily

The city of Richmond is spending more than $1 million dollars to settle lawsuits filed after the racial justice protests in 2020. In the summer of 2020, months of protests led to more than a hundred lawsuits against Richmond. This week, the city attorney’s office told 8News it spent $1,617,960.90  to settle 122 claims linked to the 2020 protests. The total amount of money the city is paying to settle cases linked to the 2020 protests could go up as there are more lawsuits brought against Richmond.

Circuit Court Judge Carl Eason, on Aug. 8, ordered Isle of Wight County to pay over $11,000 to School Board member Michael Vines in compensation for attorney fees he incurred defending himself against Windsor resident Lewis Edmonds’ most recent recall petition. Eason dismissed Edmonds’ initial petition on March 29 after finding that none of the more than 200 county residents who’d signed it had attested to having done so under penalty of perjury. The petition had accused Vines of having made “wildly inappropriate, defamatory, and discriminatory” remarks at meetings and of “malfeasance” for having left most of his required statement of economic interests blank. Edmonds began circulating a second petition in April that made the same allegations but included the required perjury warning. However, this too was dismissed when Eason ruled on June 22 that none of Edmonds’ claims met the “neglect of duty,” “misuse of office” or “incompetence” criteria outlined in state law that would allow the court to order Vines removed.
The Smithfield Times

The state’s new hemp task force — created to analyze industrial hemp and products containing THC that are meant for human consumption — met Tuesday to hear presentations from officials as it works on recommendations for lawmakers ahead of the session that starts in January. While there was no public comment at Tuesday’s meeting, an online portal to submit comments will be open until 5 p.m. on Friday. The task force, stemming from the state’s adopted budget, will then draft a report with recommendations to send to legislators by Nov. 15.
Richmond Times-Dispatch

stories of national interest

Officials in Houston this week completed the first phase of a new program intended to give the public a better look into the city’s finances, Mayor Sylvester Turner’s office said. The Open Finance Initiative, which was announced last year, aims to make the city’s budget, checkbook and payroll more accessible to the public through searchable datasets and data visualizations created with Microsoft’s Power BI platform.  The first phase of the project, which launched Tuesday, covers the city’s annual revenue and expenditure dating back to 2018. Bar charts illustrate the city’s estimated and actual spending, as well as various revenue streams. The city has an annual operating budget of over $5 billion.  The second phase, slated to launch in October, will include city employee payroll data. The third phase, expected by January 2023, will include further detail on expenditures, including payments to specific vendors. 
State Scoop