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October 02, 2007

Court Knox down county commission secret appointments

I've been following the case brought by the Knox News-Sentinel against the Knox County Commission from a distance, but with interest all the same. Many blog posts have hit the net over the past couple of weeks on this topic, and there's no way for me to get them all linked here. Just go visit these five sites (1 2 3 4 5), start scrolling or searching, and you'll find all that you need.

Today the jury found for the plaintiff (the newspaper) and thus ruled that the Commission violated the Open Meetings Act in a closed-door session wherein they appointed replacements for themselves. A majority, I believe, of the commissioners were earlier term-limited, yet they fought that law all the way to the state Supreme Court; then, when the high court ruled that they could not serve additional terms, they hand-picked successors without public input.

It's an unfortunate fact, but it sounds like something one of our own local governments would do. Especially, that is, if we're not watching them closely enough.

An interesting dynamic in this case was a daily newspaper monopoly (we're familiar with that) seeming to bring its own agenda into the fray, according to several of the bloggers above. I really can't weigh in on that; but I can say that our own paper tends to treat many potential abuses of public office with kid gloves, and so it follows that if they really went after something one day, it might indeed be for their own political purposes. All of this is pure speculation, just to be clear; but you know what I mean, right?

Oh, and of course the other interesting thing about this trial was that the newspaper asked the aforementioned independent bloggers to cover it, which they did very well.

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Government | By joe lance | 10:37 PM