Nuts & Bolts: A new type of public record coming your way

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A discussion of how things work in the news business

Food safety is a big concern – especially at restaurants and public schools where people depend on the care and vigilance of others for the integrity of what we eat.

I remember, during a vacation in Arizona a few years back, being so sick with food poisoning that I thought I might die alone in my second-floor hotel room.

I recovered, but some do not. The weakest among us are the most vulnerable to food-related illness.

Because of these concerns, Roane County News is going to begin publishing restaurant inspections as part of its regular public record. Those reports begin with this issue.

First, a note about publishing public record. Examples of what we run include property transfers, criminal court dispositions, marriages, divorces and other government-produced documents that anyone, by law and right, should have access to.

This newspaper’s policy, and the policy of our corporate office, is that when we publish public record, we cannot pick and choose and selectively leave some out.

We must give the complete record for the period.

In fact, our corporate office tells us it is a firing offense to omit portions of the record.

We sometimes get calls from people wanting to be left out for a variety of reasons. Invariably, we refuse. The records are public documents, after all, and leaving out some of it would be, we think, lying by omission.

We anticipate the same kind of calls from restaurateurs with less-than-appetizing scores. Our advice to them will be this: Clean up your facility, and let the record speak for itself. We will pick up the reports of any follow-up inspections and publish them in a timely manner.

Our goal is to publish each Roane County community’s inspection results at least once a month. In today’s edition, for no particular reason, we begin with Rockwood’s.
For the past week, Roane County News has had significant email problems through its corporate provider.

If you are concerned that something you sent has been missed, please call us to check.

Our corporate office was still trying to get to the bottom of the problem Tuesday morning.