Monday, March 22, 2010

Kentucky Supreme Court rules in favor of government transparency

Three years ago the Campbellsville Independent and Taylor County school districts tried to hide the details of a lawsuit they lost involving a teacher who had sued for wrongful termination. At the time of the trial, the court sealed the records.

Now, the Central Kentucky News-Journal reports those school districts had no right to prevent the public from learning the cost of their management transgressions.

Says the News-Journal:

"In this case, two school boards signed agreements to keep settlement information in two lawsuits secret, but the court said that they were wrong in doing that because the public's right to know that information was more important than the school boards' agreement to keep things secret."

This case is expected to have statewide impact as public school operations often attempt to maintain secrecy about some of their operations, especially in cases of embarrassment. The Kentucky Supreme Court rightly pointed out that this is both misguided and out of place in our society.

According Ashley Pack of the Dinsmore & Shohl law firm in Louisville, who was one of the attorney’s who pushed for the open-the-records ruling:

"When public agencies settle lawsuits, the work they are doing is without question the public's business and the public has a strong right to know about it."

We couldn’t agree more.

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