published Thursday, October 13th, 2011

East Ridge to publicize open-records requests

Should the names of people who have submitted public records requests be publicized?

Public records requests in East Ridge are about to become publicized.

Starting in two weeks, City Council meetings will include a short reading of everyone who has filed an open records request from the city, and what records have been pulled.

In the East Ridge City Council meeting Sep. 29, Councilman Darwin Branam said he had noticed several open records requests in the city's administrative office and wanted to have better tabs on who was making requests and why.

"I would like to know what people are concerned about and what they are asking public records for. And who they are," Branam said.

He then asked City Manager Tim Gobble if he could compile a list of people who make public records requests and include it in his biweekly staff report. "At least let us know what people are looking at, and we can determine whether there's something we need to be included on," he said.

Mayor Brent Lambert echoed that it was a "good idea."

All information a citizen enters to file a request for open records is in itself public, explained Elisha Hodge, who serves as the state comptroller's open records counsel.

However, Hodge said if East Ridge decides to create a public list of people making requests, they need to justify the move to the public.

"[Council] needs to be very clear that they're not using it as a means to discourage people from entering requests," Hodge said Wednesday.

She added that she has never heard of any other city in Tennessee publicizing a list of open records requests.

East Ridge resident Frances Pope, who frequently requests public records, said she is wary of the new measure.

"I don't care if they read my name in a meeting, but reading names publicly could intimidate some people from requesting," Pope said. "It could be good if it's for the edification knowing what citizens are concerned about. ... But I think it could be achieved without reading citizens' names in public."

Gobble said he consulted with Hodge about the legality of reading the names aloud before agreeing to give the presentation.

"From now on I will provide that information until requested otherwise by the council," he said Wednesday. He referred all comment about the motives behind the new practice to the council.

Branam did not return requests for comment Wednesday.

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ScoopAway said...

Im willing to bet the ones with no ill motives will not have a problem with it.

October 13, 2011 at 8:34 a.m.
ms1824706 said...

i agree with "scoopaway"!

October 13, 2011 at 11:10 a.m.
ScoopAway said...

As usual false claims and mis guided facts... Truth is after I get you to keep making all these false statements About who I am, where im employed and how far fetched your claims really are Everyone will see who is telling the truth and who makes false statements. I predict it won't take long.. carry on!!

October 13, 2011 at 1:39 p.m.
ScoopAway said...

I find it amusing that just about every comment you have ever posted on tfp you are either calling some Gov. Employee a name or choosing to use your favorite-- your a moron-- comment on people you assume are in Littlefields click. But the minute the table is turned your first reply is to treating to file a lawsuit.. I say to you if you can't run with the big dog....stay on the porch!!

October 13, 2011 at 3:33 p.m.
ScoopAway said...

Im not going to continue this back and forward with you. And I would also like to admit that after further review of your website yall make a few valid points about what your doing. With that being said.. it's going to be hard to get people on board if every time someone questions or shows support for Littlefield you get all in attack mode and assume they are a Chattanooga employee or even himself.. Just to show a quick example of what im saying. I have as much right to bash your organization as you bashing people for supporting him. But to make false claims about someone who post comments on here from server007 or whatever you say it is makes no sense and why would I need to have more than one name on here....... you see my point!! Mis leading comes in a variety of ways.

October 13, 2011 at 5:13 p.m.
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