Highlights from the blog and news feed
Aug. 12, 2015
Newsletter of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, a nonpartisan alliance of journalists, civic organizations and engaged citizens dedicated to ensuring the transparency of state and local governments in Colorado by promoting freedom of the press, open courts and open access to government records and meetings.
A five-month, four-CORA, attorney-assisted battle for a school district's salary records
More than five months after her initial request, Marilyn Flachman is finally getting the employee salary information she requested from the Westminster school district. It took four CORA letters, assistance from an attorney and $745.
Nine months after Chalkbeat story, Jeffco schools finally working on an email retention policy
The Jefferson County School District is finally preparing a policy for the retention of emails used for official business by board members and employees, more than nine months after Chalkbeat Colorado reported that the district has no such policy.
CFOIC's Zansberg named to state panel on police body cameras
Steve Zansberg, president of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, has been appointed to serve on a new state committee that will study and report on issues related to the use of body-worn cameras by police officers in Colorado.
Reporter drops CORA lawsuit against Division of Insurance in exchange for release of emails
A reporter for the Independence Institute dropped his pro se lawsuit against the Colorado Division of Insurance after the agency agreed to provide a majority of the emails he sought regarding the one-year renewal of health insurance policies not in compliance with the Affordable Care Act.
From ColoradoWatchdog.org: While Transparent Denver does provide substantial information about many city expenses, Watchdog.org found that two departments — the Denver City Attorney’s office and the troubled Denver Human Services department — are using privacy concerns to redact information about items that should likely be public, such as employees eating out on the taxpayers’ dime.
From the Aspen Daily News: Pitkin County, trying to shield a record that shows who made a complaint against an Aspen woman’s construction project at her home, wants the Colorado Supreme Court to rule on the case.
Zansberg: Video of town councilman destroying items in jail is a public record
From Aspen Public Radio: A First Amendment attorney says the release of a video that shows town councilman Chris Jacobson destroying items in the Pitkin County Jail after his drunk driving arrest is legal, and the public has a right to see it.
Unknown whether other Steamboat police investigation reports will be released
From Steamboat Today: Interim Police Chief Jerry DeLong is not expected to consider releasing additional reports related to the police department investigation recently completed by investigator Katherine Nuanes until the week of Aug.10.
Commerce City police officer fired after making open-records request
From CBS4 (Denver): A Commerce City police officer fired after he filed a Colorado Open Records Act Request has now filed a federal lawsuit suggesting his termination violated his First Amendment rights.
From The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction): The school board in Rifle one-upped Grand Junction city officials. Its members on Tuesday added a resolution to consider a separation agreement with the superintendent during the same meeting in which the board approved the resolution. At least the City Council scheduled a separate meeting days later.
Editorial: Transparency for Colorado's public defenders
From The Denver Post: To be clear, we don’t have a problem with public defenders spending whatever is necessary to provide a first-rate defense for the accused, no matter how terrible his crimes. What we object to is the lack of transparency and public accountability.
No 'responsive' records on lobbyist-written bill highlights legislative transparency issue
From ColoradoWatchdog.org: The state senator who carried a lobbyist-written bill this session on elderly care changes contends he has no records about his interaction with special-interest lobbyists on the topic, highlighting what critics say is a major problem in legislative transparency.
Newspaper asks Steamboat Spgs. to reconsider denial of request for reports on police probe
From Steamboat Today: A lawyer representing the Steamboat Pilot & Today sent a letter to the city attorney asking him to reconsider his decision not to release reports related to the police department investigation.
Judge bans Newsweek from courthouse after reporter IDs theater trial juror in a tweet
FromCU News Corps: A respected and experienced Newsweek reporter made a bad move on Twitter in the mad scramble to report the theater shooting trial verdict. Judge Carlos Samour put out an official order banning her and any other Newsweek reporter from the courthouse for the duration of the trial.
Editorial: More questions than answers in summary report on police investigation
From Steamboat Today: Steamboat City Council President Bart Kounovsky and City Manager Deb Hinsvark both predicted the community would not be satisfied with the police investigation summary that was released to the public, and their predictions were correct. After reading the page-and-a-half document, we were at first mystified and then upset by the lack of information provided in the “report.”
Making an anonymous complaints doesn't always guarantee confidentiality
From The Aspen Times: Aspen and Pitkin County government agencies take varying approaches toward handling resident complaints, which aren’t always subject to confidentiality. Whether the complaint concerns a land-use violation or criminal activity, the identity of the person tipping off an agency about wrongdoing could become public.
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