Former Supervisors Accuse County Administrator of FOIA Violation - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Former Supervisors Accuse County Administrator of FOIA Violation

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Two former Madison County supervisors have filed a lawsuit against the county's administrator citing a violation of the Freedom of Information Act. They met in Madison General District Court Thursday morning.

Former supervisors Pete Elliot and Jerry Butler say they had no knowledge of a document that was shown to the current and previous Board of Supervisors last year. They first learned of this in January, and sent a FOIA request for the document to county administrator Ernest Hoch. But he refused to send them a copy.

"The copy count was omitted from two Board of Supervisors members, and I did not think that was a right action for any board to take,” Butler said.

Butler and Elliot think they were left out of a big decision last year to evaluate and recommend a raise for county administrator Hoch.

“If there was a document given out for evaluation for the county administrator, we felt that all members of the board at that time should have received that document,” Elliot said.

Butler says, if unearthed, the document they requested may prove a violation of board rules and regulations.

"The action that was recommended in the document would require a vote, and if it contained evaluation of the county administrator by one person, that's in violation of our rules and regulations of the board. All members provide an evaluation for the county administrator,” Butler said.

The county attorney argued the document contains information on county personnel, which would count as grounds to deny the request. But regardless of what the document contains, Elliot says hiding it from them is just ethically wrong.

"You want to talk transparency? That's not very good transparency when you have two board members and you're trying to keep that from two board members," Elliot said.

Wednesday, county supervisors voted to give Hoch an $18,000 salary raise and a four-year contract extension. Madison County Supervisor clay Jackson calls the increase an investment in the county.

As for the court case, the judge says he will review the content of the document and decide whether or not the FOIA request can be granted. That decision will come sometime in the next week to 10 days.

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