OUR VIEW: TCSS released records quickly

Published 6:42 pm Sunday, August 26, 2018

Over the last three weeks, we’ve written three different stories on the Troup County School System’s decision to change superintendents. The first story broke the news, a second added contract details and a third revealed insight into the reasoning behind the decision. 

In the course of investigating the superintendent decision, we put in two different open record requests — one for documents related to Cole Pugh’s resignation, and a second for emails related to his resignation.

Both of those requests were fulfilled within three days. In our opinion, that shows the school system wanted to be transparent in this decision. Many will argue that school system leaders didn’t come forward to answer many of the questions raised in the days following Pugh’s resignation, which is true. Board members cited their policy against discussing personnel decisions, a policy that we touched on in a previous editorial.

However, the school system also expedited requests for public information.

On Thursday evening, hours after receiving the emails we requested, we asked for an interview with interim superintendent Roy Nichols and board chairman Kirk Hancock. About 12 hours later, both men adjusted their schedules on the fly to accommodate an 8 a.m. meeting with our editor. 

Both could have easily declined, especially considering the information we had gathered from the email request.

Instead, they began their day by spending an hour answering questions about emails they wrote.

We appreciate their time and openness to discussing a topic they’re probably both ready to move on from.

Through the email request, we also received internal school system emails about both of our open record requests, since they also dealt with the resignation. It’s clear through those communications that the school system wanted to release the information quickly and put a premium on cooperation, despite knowing a story would follow.

We appreciate the school system’s fast response to those requests. Transparency is always the best policy in any public office.