Arp's Public Records Policy DOA

Words and phrases  like, intimidate, frustrate, burdensome, unnecessary paper work, rates are excessive and many more negative connotations are used in the just released CTAS opinion of Mayor Arp's public records resolution. CTAS (County Technical Assistance Service), is the state agency charged with assisting county government in policy decisions. The opinion written by David Connor, CTAS Legal Consultant in Nashville, was requested by commission at the February meeting after commissioners removed the mayor's proposed resolution from the agenda due to major concerns with it's legality. Their concerns apparently were well founded.

The CTAS opinion refutes nearly every aspect of the mayor's proposed resolution point by point. Click Here For CTAS Opinion. No convoluted fee schedule, no request applications, no waiting. In fact, the opinion states that the mayor nor the commission has the authority to enact any public records policies but each department official may adopt their own policies. The opinion clearly and simply shows that what Mr. Arp was attempting to do would be in violation of the open records laws. This raises a big question about the author of the resolution. According to commissioners, attorney Robert Bowman with the law firm of Kramer-Rayson is the admitted author of the now debunked resolution. This may give commissioners cause for concern to depend on other and future advice from from Mr. Bowman.

Mayor Arp's ill conceived attempt to prevent the public's right to public records has cost to tax payers of Loudon County tens of thousands of dollars in wasted money in legal fees for Mr. Bowman's poor advice. Not to mention the costs that have been expended by at least three private citizens who have fought constantly to preserve citizens rights. Ms. Pat Hunter, who with others has sued Mayor Arp for his denial of public records, is the person responsible for contacting CTAS and getting a copy of the opinion and making it available for publication. For that we are grateful.

Surely this will finally put an end to this ridiculous situation perpetrated by the mayor. The mayor should be held accountable for his reckless actions and misuse of tax payer money. Given that Mayor Arp initiated and instigated this entire mess, perhaps he would be willing to personally make restitution to the tax payers and citizens for the money squandered on his wild goose chase.

Maybe now this matter can be put to rest and openness brought back to county government.