News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Access to records beats flip of a coin

Morgan County Commissioner Ken Livingston might have won the Republican nomination for the District 2 seat in June with the flip of a coin when he tied with incumbent Richard Lyons. The vote was 4,020 for each.

But he may have lost, too. Coins have two sides. He didn't have to resort to chance because he had benefit of a count of challenged ballots. Denied access to the records, Mr. Livingston would have never known that he won by two votes.

Thank goodness for records, whether they belong to political parties or to the public. Accurate documentation is the best way to set the record straight.

Mr. Livingston, in office less than three months, seems to have forgotten how valuable that vote count was to his election and to the people who voted for him. It also went to the integrity of the election.

In the shameful squabble over information on some of the county's computer hard drives, Mr. Livingston said he didn't see any reason to release the content that an expert gleaned from hard drives of Chairman John Glasscock and fired human resources manager Jack Underwood.

He went on to express disregard for the law that says that the public is entitled to public records.

"Everybody knew what we were looking for as far as pornography goes," he said. He said if commission members had not gotten copies of a disc containing the questionable e-mails, they would not have been released.

He's wrong in holding that attitude. It's also disappointing that a man who owes his nomination to office to election records is now against giving the public access and a full airing of events concerning the computers.

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