Rutherford County Stays Course on Meetings Notice

A judge ruled in June that Rutherford County should be doing more to publicize meetings that might be of particular interest to the public. County officials say they haven’t started doing that yet.

The lawsuit was about whether the county properly approved a mosque just outside the Murfreesboro city limits. The issue hinged on public notice of the planning commission meeting two years ago. A chancery court ruled the gathering violated the Tennessee Open Meetings Act. The only public notice was a few lines in a free newspaper tossed in people’s driveways.

The judge said Rutherford County needs to do more to get the word out on issues that might be of interest. Mayor Ernest Burgess says that is a tough threshold to define.

“We have not found a practical way to make that happen yet and that will yet be discussed as we move further into the appeals court situation.”

The appeals are on hold for the moment. A federal judge intervened to make sure the mosque could open. At some point in the future, though, the county’s attorneys expect to argue against having different levels of public notice for certain meetings.

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