Editorial: Open Government - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Editorial: Open Government

EDITORIAL:  We now know the financial terms of the contract the City of Columbus signed with a local law firm regarding the nearly 6-year long protracted lawsuit against Expedia. 

It took formal open records requests from both News Leader 9 and the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer to force the city to finally explain what the financial arrangement is with the local law firm.  It also took a firm directive from the Georgia attorney general's office to release the information.

The law firm claimed "lawyer/client privilege" in not releasing the information.  There's no problem with that in that they do have a legal obligation to protect their clients. But the same cannot be said for the city and the people who run it.

The media request was based on one simple idea - let taxpayers know if a large bill was waiting to be paid when the nearly 6-year long lawsuit is finally over - perhaps years from now.

After months of secrecy, we finally know - taxpayers will not be on the hook for the many hourly lawyer fees - just any expenses the lawyers have incurred.

What everyone is hoping for is a decision in the city's favor and a big payout so the city can be paid unpaid hotel/motel taxes and the lawyers will get their cut.  

So we think any idea of "funny business" going on behind the scenes has been put to rest.  And let's hope that this simple exercise in "true" open government isn't repeated anytime soon.

General Manager Lee Brantley brings two editorials a week to WTVM.  If you would like to respond to an editorial, write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee
1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, GA 31906

or e-mail your response to WTVM Editorial Committee.


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