OLIVER WOOD ET AL. V. JEFFERSON COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE, INC. - Articles

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Posted by: Landry Butler on Sep 26, 2017

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

D. Scott Hurley and Ryan N. Shamblin, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellants, John Gunn, Clarice Gunn, Jack Kenley, Charlotte Kenley, Steve Monroe, Carol Monroe, Charles Crosby, Steve Hammer, Bandi Hammer, Leroy Malone, Annette Loy, and Peggy Corbett.

Attorneys 2:

James L. Gass and Anna C. Penland, Sevierville, Tennessee, for appellee, Jefferson County Economic Development Oversight Committee, Inc.

Judge(s): SUSANO

In 2009 and 2010, the legislative bodies of Jefferson County, Jefferson City, and Dandridge enacted resolutions requesting that the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce create a non-profit corporation to be called the Jefferson County Economic Development Oversight Committee (EDOC). Its purpose was to promote economic development in the county. In 2013, a group of citizens filed this action seeking a declaration that EDOC is subject to the provisions of the Tennessee Public Records Act, Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-503 (2012), and the Open Meetings Act, Tenn. Code Ann. § 8- 44-101 et seq. (2016). After a bench trial, the court denied the plaintiffs’ requested relief. They appealed. We find and hold that the undisputed facts establish that EDOC performs a governmental function, recieves a substantial amount of taxpayer funding, and is significantly involved with and regulated by the governing city and county legislative bodies. In light of our duty to broadly construe and interpret the Public Records and Open Meetings Acts in favor of governmental transparency and accountability, we hold that the EDOC is subject to these acts. The judgment of the trial court is reversed.

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