Transparency

   Written by on January 11, 2018 at 2:49 pm

At the July 2016 Charlotte County Board of Supervisors meeting Kay Morgan Pierantoni and Ludie Collie addressed the board with what they claimed was a petition “containing almost 800 signatures of Charlotte citizens and Taxpayers.”

When the Messenger asked to see the petition we were told it was confidential because the signers were afraid of retribution.  Had I even been allowed a glance at the petition this story would have ended.

However, the concept of an anonymous petition was beyond belief.  Expecting a board of supervisors to act on an anonymous petition was ridiculous.

At subsequent meetings Pierantoni frequently claimed to “have presented a petition to the board in July, 2016.”

The Freedom of Information (FOIA) experts we consulted all agreed that presenting a petition required physically giving a copy to the board. Pierantoni disagreed and continued to claim she presented a petition to the board in July 2016. Oddly, the number of signers continued to grow.

We were asked to “trust us” on this which according to Journalism 101 we could not do.

After 18 months of Pierantoni’s statement of “I presented a petition to the board in July 2016” she was elected to the board and again referenced “presenting a petition to the board in July 2016.

In the January board meeting we presented the board with a FOIA request for that petition.

The board and Pierantoni individually are required by Virginia law to respond to our request within five days.

There are three possible responses. One is to comply with our request.  Another is to acknowledge that she did not in fact “present a petition to the board in July 2016.” Finally, Pierantoni can ignore our FOIA request or claim she does not have access to it.

The Southside Messenger eagerly awaits her response.

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