Knoxville, TN – 2011 Mayoral candidate Mark Padgett today applauded City Council Member Brenda Palmer for sponsoring a resolution in support of open meetings for the city’s Pension Task Force, which will offer recommendations to improve the rising costs of pensions to the next Mayor.
“Since the city has not reversed their decision to hold meetings in private, I applaud Councilwoman Palmer for introducing a resolution aimed at improving transparency and accountability. Knoxvillians should have the right to attend and observe all local government meetings, especially when there are millions of taxpayer dollars at stake. I urge the City Council to show leadership by voting for this critically important resolution.”
The City Council is expected to vote on the resolution Tuesday evening, March 8.
On February 24, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported that the city’s Pension Task Force planned to hold some meetings in private.
On February 24, Padgett issued his first call for transparency in a letter to Chairman Bill Lyons and Mayor Daniel Brown.
Padgett believes this decision violates Tennessee’s “Opening Meetings Act” (TCA 8-44-102 Section A), which states: “All meetings of any governing body are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times, except as provided by the Constitution of Tennessee. (b) (1) “Governing body” means: (A) The members of any public body which consists of two (2) or more members, with the authority to make decisions for or recommendations to a public body on policy or administration…”
On February 25, the Knoxville News Sentinel editorialized that the task force should meet in public: “Secret discussions don't increase candor so much as they multiply suspicions. Employees could think they've been sold out. Taxpayers can't have confidence their best interests are taken into account. No one wins… Transparency will be good for the process, good for the employees and good for Knoxville taxpayers.”
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On February 28, Padgett issued his second call for transparency in a press release, noting “public meetings will help inspire confidence in the group’s recommendations and trust with taxpayers and city employees.”
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