Dec. 21, 2007
Heather Willis Neal
Office of the Public Access Counselor
W460, Indiana Government Center South
402 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204
As president of the Indiana Coalition for Open Government, I want you to
know that Gary Moody, who filed a formal complaint with you (07-FC-267)
about the Franklin Department of Planning and Economic Development,
attended our December meeting this week to voice his concerns about the
opinion you gave.
His primary concern was that you found no reason to believe the
department “does or ever did maintain an audio recording from the July 9
meeting” despite what reads like a detailed transcript of conversation
that was provided to him as minutes written from memory.
We read the material at our board meeting. While it is true that the
burden is on Mr. Moody to prove that a tape does, or did, exist and that
the person who provided the minutes could not have written such detail
from memory, we’re left feeling skeptical of the department’s claim that
there was no audio recording of the meeting.
We are not suggesting that you should have taken further action to prod
the department to release a recording that might not even exist; that,
of course, is up to Mr. Moody. But we do feel there is reason to believe
that a recording existed, at least at some point, in light of evidence
of the detailed transcript of conversation. As one board member said
about the department’s claim: “It doesn’t pass the smell test.”
Because Mr. Moody brought his concerns to us, we have invited him to
write an “op-ed” piece for ICOG’s Web site (www.indianacog.org) about
his experience in this matter. It should be posted within the next
couple of weeks. It is not that we are taking sides with Mr. Moody, but
we see this as an interesting case that the public might want to know
about and perhaps learn from.
I would be happy to discuss this with you if you want. At very least, I
thought you should know that Mr. Moody approached ICOG about his case.