The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government recently elected to its Board of Directors Helen Burns Sharp, a public interest advocate in Chattanooga who has advanced awareness of the Tennessee Open Meetings Act and the rights of citizens to transparency in government.
Sharp is a community development consultant and a retired urban planning director who has been involved in two public interest lawsuits against the Chattanooga Industrial Development Board over violations of the state’s sunshine laws. She holds a master’s degree in government from the University of Texas, and a political science degree from University of Tennessee. She is a native of Chattanooga.
TCOG is a non-partisan, non-profit organization founded in 2003 whose sole mission is to preserve and improve government transparency. Its mission rests on the belief that access to government information, through public records and public meetings, is crucial in allowing informed citizen participation in a democratic society.
Its programs include workshops and civic presentations, development of educational resources, advocacy, a hotline for citizens and journalists, and tracking of legislation and litigation that could impact rights of access to public records and government meetings.
TCOG participates as a member of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, an alliance of similar open government groups in other states.