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Evans makes request for checks official

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By Cindy Simpson

By CINDY SIMPSON
csimpson@roanecounty.com
Rockwood Vice Mayor Peggy Evans regularly makes requests to see financial records of the city.
She recently butted heads with others, including Rockwood attorney Greg Leffew, over disagreement on a Freedom of Information Act records request.
“I have been trying now for two or three years to get some information about some checks, and I have been told I cannot have them,” Evans said at a recent meeting.
The records are public, Leffew agreed.
“Under my interpretation of the Tennessee Open Records Act, before we can complete your request we have to redact or mark out the account numbers,” Leffew said.
Evans countered that many things leaving city offices have account numbers on them, including checks written to vendors.
“I think there is a misunderstanding as to what I requested,” she said.
She discussed it  in a letter she wrote and handed out in response to Leffew’s letter addressing her FOIA request.
Evans is requesting to access and copy all city banking activities from July 1, 2009, to May 1, 2013, downloaded from Regions Bank as a spreadsheet.
She said the request would take less than 15 minutes and doesn’t think a fee should be required.
When Evans was told the statements the city receives doesn’t include check numbers or recipients, she said she would need to view the checks and will be visiting city hall to take a look.
City Recorder Becky Ruppe showed the current year’s statements, which include pages with small images of the checks, but she said similar records are not in the city for previous years.
“Out of 46 months you want, I have about 24 here,” Ruppe told Evans following the meeting.
Ruppe said while she does not think the city has all the checks Evans may want, she could order them from the bank.
Ruppe said many records were taken by auditors at the Tennessee Comptroller’s office.
Evans said there should be cancelled checks in storage from the time period, including for the years she signed city checks.