East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists

Update 7/3/08


Comptroller names Advisory Committee

New members and contributions

Griscom takes office as TPA President

Revising our Plan of Work/Need for a board meeting? 


            State Comptroller John Morgan wasted no time naming members to the new Advisory Committee on Open Government.  Three media and two citizen representatives join (2) state and (4) local government appointees.  The appointments were made Tuesday – the day the law creating the Committee and the Office of Open Records Counsel took effect.

1.  Margie Parsley, a community volunteer in Nashville, represents the League of Women Voters.

2.  Dick Williams, a charter member of the TCOG board, represents Common Cause.

3.  Dr. Dorothy Bowles, a communications law professor at UT, represents TCOG.  She is a charter member, too, representing East Tennessee’s SPJ pro chapter

4.  Mike Cutler, who retired Monday as news director of Newschannel5 in Nashville, represents the TN Association of Broadcasters. Dick, Dorothy and Mike all serve on TCOG board.

5. I was appointed to represent the Tennessee Press Association on the Committee.

This gives us about every tool set, public and press perspective on open government, which should help the ORC to continue studying issues with our open government laws.

Each group had to submit 3 names for Morgan to consider.  As one TCOG member noted, it was obvious that the controller studiously avoided naming attorneys to the Committee.  The only exception was Attorney General Robert Cooper’s designation of one of is top deputies, Janet Kleinfelter, to represent the AG’s office.

We expect the first order of business to be working on an open records fee schedule to recommend to government agencies dealing with copies.  


Welcome new members and contributions


We have two new individual members and another daily newspaper as contributors to the work of TCOG.

Gene Washer, publisher of The Leaf-Chronicle in Clarksville, sent us a personal check last month and one on behalf of the Gannett daily publication. Mr. Arnold Collins, a citizen from Kodak, Tenn., sent us an unsolicited contribution as an individual member with a nice congratulatory note after reading where the Governor had signed the open records bill.

We’re a little behind on fundraising for the year and I need to spend some time and energy on that.  My “to-do list” is back up to 35 items but this will need to be a priority – along with open records and electronic fees research for the Advisory Committee to consider.


Griscom takes office as TPA President

Congrats to Tom Griscom, executive editor and publisher of the Chattanooga Times Free Press and our former president. Tom taook office June 20 at the TPA Summer Convention in Johnson City.




Revising our Plan of Work

Need for a board meeting


I’ve been catching up on some administrative detail work that the legis kept me away from, and I need to return to the state-by-state research on fees and better access to electronic records.  That needs to be done quickly since the Advisory Committee could meet within the next two weeks.

My growing list of “to-dos” suggests we need to rework the Plan of Work that was last visited in 2005.  It has 15 items on it.  Some are ongoing tasks (like training) and some or all of other items have been completed.

We’re at a minor crossroad, suggesting the need for a board meeting to talk about where we are and where we need to go.  We also have some projects we need to consider.

Let me know if you have absolute schedule restrictions/constraints anytime this month.


New Legislation:  Anyone who wants to read the final version of the bill can find it at: http://state.tn.us/sos/acts/105/pub/pc1179.pdf 


Everyone have a good and happy Fourth of July!!!!!





Frank Gibson
Executive Director
Tennessee Coalition for Open Government
P.O. Box 22248
Nashville, TN 37202
On the web: www.tcog.info
Phone: 615.202.2685


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