Lee Pope, who joined the Office of Open Records Counsel last year as Deputy Open Records Counsel, has been promoted to Open Records Counsel, replacing Ann Butterworth.
Butterworth is returning to her primary role as Assistant to the Comptroller for Public Finance. Butterworth had served since 2014 as the Open Records Counsel after Elisha Hodge left.
Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said Pope has played a key role in eliminating a backlog of requests for assistance and in developing a model public records policy for use by government entities.
Pope previously worked as Assistant Director and General Counsel for the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board, and as an Assistant Attorney General in the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
Wilson also announced that Rachel Buckley would join the two-person staff as Assistant Open Records Counsel.
Buckley also previously worked in the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, and in state government as assistant general counsel in the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. Buckley is a graduate of Saint Louis University and the University of Tennessee’s College of Law.
The Office of Open Records Counsel was created in 2008 to answer questions about the state’s public records law and issue informal advisory opinions. It receives inquiries from government entities, citizens and journalists. Last year, the General Assembly increased funding of the office to pay for a second position.
“For the past 10 years the Office of Open Records Counsel has provided invaluable insight and guidance for thousands of Tennesseans,” said Wilson in a press release. “I am pleased to announce that Lee and Rachel will now continue this important work. I also want to thank Ann Butterworth for providing excellent leadership over these last few years, and I’m pleased to have her back by my side.”