News Sentinel: State museum meeting should be open to the public

The News Sentinel published an editorial today saying that the “Douglas Henry State Museum Commission is barreling toward a possible violation of the state’s Open Meetings Act.”

It urges the commission, which was just allocated $120 million of taxpayer money toward construction of the new facility, to open to the public its planned March 28 meeting in which it is scheduled to discuss what is needed in replacing the museum’s long-time executive director.

One of the commission members, Victor Ashe, called for the state museum meeting to be open, but has met resistance from another member, Tom Smith, who heads a committee on succession planning. (Ashe is a member of TCOG’s board of directors.)

Read the News Sentinel’s full editorial here: Meeting should be open to the public

Here is an excerpt:

Discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the “talent pool” for the executive director’s position is, in fact, deliberating toward a decision on Riggins-Ezzell’s replacement, even if no votes are taken at the workshop. Eight hours of kicking around possibilities for future action can be interpreted only as a deliberative meeting; drawing any other conclusion strains credulity.

Even if a legal rationale can be found, Smith should heed Ashe’s advice to open the meeting to the public. The museum belongs to the people, and its governing board must be accountable to the citizens of Tennessee.

What do you think?