Six new members have been named to the 14-member Advisory Committee on Open Government (ACOG), representing six organizations.
TCOG representative: Adam Yeomans, Associated Press Regional Director for the South, replaces Memphis attorney Lucian Pera as TCOG’s representative. Yeomans is vice president of TCOG’s Board of Directors. Pera, TCOG’s president, has served for the past two years.
Tennessee Press Association representative: Jack McElroy, editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel, replaces Knoxville attorney Richard Hollow. McElroy is the most recent past president of TPA.
Tennessee Municipal League representative: Maya Siggers, assistant city attorney for the city of Memphis, replaces Chad Jenkins. Jenkins had been the Tennessee Municipal League representative since ACOG was established in 2008. Siggers is the legal counsel for the city of Memphis’ Public Records Office.
County Officials Association of Tennessee representative: Kathryn Strong, Sumner County Circuit Court Clerk, replaces David Connor, who represented Tennessee County Services Association. The law allows this seat to be held by a representative of either organization. Strong, an attorney, was elected as circuit court clerk in Sumner County in 2014 and in that role is responsible for all records in the circuit, criminal, general sessions and juvenile courts.
Tennessee School Board Association representative: Debbie Shedden, chairman of the Hawkins County Board of Education and the 2016 president of the Tennessee School Board Association. Shedden was appointed last year to fill out the term of Don Long, past chairman of the Sumner County School Board, and reappointed this year.
AARP representative: Dennis Weber of Johnson City and former vice president of Jarden Zinc Products in Greeneville replaces Fred Fields, an AARP volunteer advocacy leader. Weber was appointed to the AARP Congressional District Leadership Team in 2016. He currently is a technology consultant for the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and has testified before Congress on matters relating to coinage materials and manufacturing techniques.
The Advisory Committee on Open Government was created by legislation in 2008 “to provide guidance and advice for the office of open records counsel.” It also is authorized by law to review and provide written comment on proposed legislation regarding changes to the Tennessee Public Records Act or the Tennessee Open Meetings Act. It also can meet and provide written comment on any drafts of policies or guidelines issues by the Office of Open Records Counsel.
Currently, ACOG is considering open records matters associated with the use of law enforcement body cameras, as well as considering a new model best practices and public records policy under development by the Office of Open Records Counsel.
Other organizations with seats on the Advisory Committee on Open Government are the League of Women Voters, Tennessee Board of Regents, Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, Tennessee Hospital Association, Common Cause, Society of Professional Journalists, and the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association.
Ex-officio members are Janet Kleinfelter, deputy attorney general, state Sen. Ken Yager, chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Committee, and state Rep. Bob Ramsey, chairman of the House State Government Committee.