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Transparency Dead on Its Long Arrival To the Purcellville Town Council

March 7, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Committees at a Glance, Government, News No Comments
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The ongoing pursuit for open and transparent government policies that resident and business owner, Kelli Grim and others asked Purcellville to adopt over a year ago has come to a dead stop. “Real Parties of Interest Disclosure” – which requires that the names of individuals and businesses with interests in zoning and/or legislative matters before governmental bodies be available to the public – died in the Purcellville’s Ways and Means Committee, after going back and forth from the Council to the Committee to the Purcellville Business Association and back. Purcellville Town Councilwoman Joan Lehr said that there would be no way to enforce the disclosure, and that Council members are already subject to some disclosure requirements. Supporters of the Real Parties of Interest – in force at the county level in Loudoun since 2007 and the standard for countless other counties, cities and towns in the Commonwealth, as well as at the Virginia State level – argue that not only are such requirements easily enforceable, but that Purcellville’s current minimal disclosure requirements prevent the public from seeing a full and complete list of all parties with an interest in a particular development project. Purcellville’s current rules, for example, effectively exempt from disclosure the names of the attorneys, engineers, architects and other professionals involved in a particular project, in some cases masking the name of either the effective owner of a property and/or other individuals with a financial stake in the outcome of Town Council decisions. They also fail to shed light on any possible conflicts of interest, in cases where companies or individuals have made financial contributions to an elected official’s political campaigns.

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