Public Records Commission?

editorial-logo3As we begin to gear up for another year of policy and politics, I wonder if there are not paths that we can take to answer the issues that seem to dog our County. Transparency in government is, and should be, a priority for all-both elected officials and the public at large. Without transparency there is no trust and without trust it is hard to make progress. It seems that we are always fighting to find out what happened in the past and we can’t focus on what could happen in the future. Our County is mandated by the State of Tennessee to have a Public Records Commission that deals with accessibility of public records. They also govern storage of records and the process of record keeping for all County Departments, the County Commission, the Department of Education and other offices that receive allocations from the County budget. It occurs to me that this could be and should be a very active committee. Three of the six members are mayoral appointment (confirmed by the County Commission) however the guidelines for appointment are fairly specific, the others are elected officials. This group could be just the answer that Jefferson County has been looking for. We are currently embroiled in a lawsuit regarding transparency, there are suspicions and questions regarding several of the County Departments, including the Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Education and the County Commission. What better way to alleviate suspicion than to have another party in charge of records, documents and meeting minuets? Will this take away all suspicion? Probably not, but it is a starting point. I think so, anyway, and apparently the State of Tennessee thinks so, as well. If we never take a step, we won’t move forward and that is just simply not acceptable. Let’s bring the Public Record’s Commission to the table and see what they can do. At worst, we are status quo and at best they let a little light shine in. It isn’t like we would be jumping the shark-it is more like sticking our toe in the water-but it is a start and anything that moves forward has to start somewhere.

Source: K. Depew, News Director