If you’re confused about which government records you can see and how to get access to them in Tennessee, a special workshop at MTSU Tuesday, Sept. 11, can make the process clear.
Attorney Elisha Hodge, counsel to the Tennessee Office of Open Records Counsel, will speak at 6:30 p.m. in Room 104 of the Bragg Mass Communication Building on campus.
She’ll speak briefly on public records in Tennessee, then open the floor to practical questions about using the law to obtain public information.
The event is free and sponsored by MTSU’s College of Mass Communication and the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
It’s open to the public and should be of special interest to area journalists and journalism students, organizers said.
Tennessee law defines public records as “all documents,” in any format, made or received by any government agency in connection with official business. Tennessee’s Public Records Act gives every citizen the right to personally inspect any public record, unless state law specifically restricts or prohibits it.
Hodge served as open-records specialist for the Office of Open Records Counsel for almost two years before she was promoted to her current post in August 2009. She is the primary contact for citizens and local governments who have concerns about access to public records under the Tennessee Public Records Act.
The OORC, which operates under the state comptroller’s office, helps guide citizens to the correct offices and personnel to get the public records they need and works to resolve disputes over access to those records. The office also helps educate the public and local government about Tennessee public-records and open-meetings laws through workshops such as this one.
For more information about the operations of the Office of Open Records Counsel, including a list of frequently asked questions about open records in Tennessee, visit www.comptroller.tn.gov/openrecords.
For more information about the Sept. 11 workshop, contact Sharon Fitzgerald in the MTSU School of Journalism at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Gina E. Fann (Gina.Fann@mtsu.edu)