POSTED BY TOBY SELLS ON MON, MAY 4, 2015 AT 2:22 PM
Deficiencies in the city’s public records process stem from inefficient processes, a lack of understanding of open records laws by citizens and city employees, and “a growing distrust between the public records staff at various levels of city government and the local media,” according to a new report.
In 2009, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton issued an executive order to make city government more transparent, “based on the understanding that the city of Memphis belongs to the public and to achieve the open government we desire and the public deserves.”
In March, Wharton asked Mike Carpenter, executive director of the Plough Foundation, to conduct an independent study of the city’s public records system. In an April 30 letter to the mayor, Carpenter said that “a healthy tension between government and the media is expected and beneficial. However, when that ‘push and pull’ becomes an authentic tug of war, citizens and the processes suffer.”