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We couldn’t be more proud of the nine Roane County Commission members who carried the vote against a measure that could greatly increase secrecy in government proceedings.
Remember these names: County Commissioners Nick Forrester, Copper Bacon, Ron Berry, Ray Cantrell, Benny East, Randy Ellis, Jerry Goddard, Carolyn Granger and Stanley Moore voted “no” to giving their backing to a proposed change to state law that would allow members of a governing body to meet in private — as long as a quorum is not present.
If the change is successful, seven of Roane County’s 15 commissioners could meet to discuss county business outside the eyes of the public.
Although Ellis proposed some changes to the proposal, in the end, he voted against the original as it stood.
“It’s rough to live by, but it’s there for a purpose,” he said later.
Democracy, as we have noted before, can be messy — but it’s the price we pay for freedom.
Secrecy has no place in general government proceedings, no mattter how efficient it may be for officials to discuss the public’s business outside the eyes of the people.
The measure is supported by the Tennessee County Commissioners Association and its president, Ronnie Raper, a member of the Rhea County Commission.
As Berry noted at this week’s county commission meeting, Raper couldn’t get his own county to support the bill.
Anderson County also has voted against supporting the measure.
State lawmakers here and elsewhere should take note of the opposition and vote this potentially dangerous measure down.
And unless you support secrecy, you should let your representatives know in no uncertain terms what a bad idea this is.