Apparently everybody gets it except County Mayor Doyle Arp. Seems he and his attorney, Bob Bowman, are the only ones who are still clinging to his ridiculous policy. After the scathing opinion rendered by CTAS, there seems to still be no change in getting public records. I have been trying for three weeks to get the simplest request fulfilled with yet no success. This is not the fault of subornments. Mr. Arp has apparently made it clear to his staff that all requests must be approved by him personally. It may be that he is just not in the office enough for anyone to gain his approval.

In light of the CTAS opinion, at least one citizen, Ms. Pat Hunter, ask that the public records matter be added to the agenda at Monday's commission workshop. However Mayor Arp was again absent from the meeting and commissioners opted not to take up the matter supposedly in the mayors absence. One official after the meeting suggested that Arp's pet name for his opponents "AAA" might now stand for "Arp's Always Absent".

Public records must be reopened to the public.

Below is the knoxnews story.

Legal consultant: Loudon records access proposal 'burdensome'
February 28, 2007

Proposed rules for access to public records in Loudon County are too "burdensome,'' according to a legal consultant.

Procedures and fees "seem excessive and contrary to the legislative intent of the General Assembly,'' David Connor stated in a recent memo.

Also, Connor said, the Loudon County Commission "is without authority to pass such a broad resolution regarding county records."

Connor is a consultant for the County Technical Assistance Service of the University of Tennessee's Institute for Public Service.

Earlier this month, Loudon County commissioners asked for a CTAS legal review of a proposed seven-page guideline for public records access.

County Mayor Doyle Arp issued a public records access policy days after taking office in September, and the more detailed guidelines were drafted later.

Residents and commissioners have expressed concerns about parts of the expanded policy, including proposed fees for copies and the requirement that a form be signed to gain public records access.

In his opinion, Connor's memo states, planned fees for copies are "excessive.''

The county policy would assess a sliding fee of up to $23.47 an hour for county employees' time spent making copies.

"I would suggest that the county attempt to keep these costs as low as possible in order not to invite a legal challenge to the fees,'' Connor wrote.

He also noted that a state appeals court has said that records access can't be denied because a citizen "refuses to fill out a form or make the request in writing.''

"Imposing burdensome rules and regulations in order to intimidate or deter residents from viewing public records is unlawful,'' citizen activist Pat Hunter wrote in an e-mailed response to the CTAS opinion.

"Mayor Arp must remember that the public records belong to the people, not him or any other person working in government,'' Hunter responded.

Hunter and two other residents have challenged Arp's original policy in a Chancery Court complaint that is still pending.

Arp didn't return calls Monday and wasn't in his office Tuesday.