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Public access counselor reverses decision on Stellar UPDATED 6:45 p.m. Thursday
Updated on: 07.10.14

The Nashville-Brown County Stellar Communties committee is a governing body and is subject to all the provisions of the Open Door Law, Indiana Public Access Counselor Luke Britt said late this afternoon -- a reversal of his earlier opinion.

"Additional evidence has come to light which suggests my initial conclusion may have been erroneous," Britt wrote. "My determination was based on the town's assertion the committee was exclusive(ly) comprised of volunteers and they were not appointed in any manner by the presiding officer of a governing body. In short, they were not operating as a delegation or sub-committee of another public agency. They were simply an association of concerned citizens, even though many of its members happened to be public officials."

Britt's first opinion, issued June 23, was based on a complaint filed by attorney Wanda Jones, representing a group that wants to delay Nashville's Stellar application until more public input and study can be put into the projects.

On July 1, Jones filed a 27-page response to Britt's initial ruling, arguing that committee members were acting in their capacity as town and county officials and that the non-officials on the committee were "chosen" by Nashville Town Council President Bob Kirlin. She said the committee performed the functions of a governing body, including making recommendations and decisions on what projects the Stellar proposal would include.

In today's opinion, Britt agrees: "It is explicitly stated the town and county has 'chosen' the Stellar Community committee," he writes, about the town and county's Stellar letter of intent. "This indicates the committee was not formed organically by a group of volunteers as was suggested in the town's response to formal complaint 14-FC-109."

The local Stellar committee is "exercising an executive function of local government and taking official action of public business." he concludes. Therefore, it is subject to the Open Door Law which requires all meetings to be open to the public "in order that the people may be fully informed."

The second half of Jones' complaint centered on public records requests which she said were either unfulfilled, were only fulfilled by being directed to the town attorney and not through normal channels, or were fulfilled in a way that wasn't easily accessible.

Britt said the Access to Public Records Act does not prohibit the town from designating someone to fulfill records requests, and given the "history of contention between you (or your clients) and the town, it is not unreasonable to ask you to direct your requests to the town's attorney." But he also notes that "the technology used should not be so complicated to the point of being challenging to use," referring to Jones' complaints about being directed to a password-protected email account and a thumb drive to access requested documents. Some were later delivered to Jones' office.

Britt said Jones and her clients, the Concerned Citizens of Brown County, are entitled to at least one copy of each record they seek -- and that could be electronic, as long as the copy is "viable."

Impact on Friday's presentation

The state Stellar committee is scheduled to visit Nashville from about 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, starting and ending at Out of the Ordinary restaurant.

Concerned Citizens of Brown County said they were not allowed inside that gathering. They planned to show their nonsupport of this year's Stellar application outside the restaurant.

Britt's opinion, however, says that the Stellar committee is a public body required to open its meetings to the public.

Neither Kirlin nor Town Attorney James T. Roberts could be reached for comment Thursday evening.

Read Britt's ruling by clicking here.

Obituaries
See Full List »

Jerry Depew Sr., 67, Nashville
  Husband of Phyllis Depew of Nashville

Millard Thompson, 90, Brown County
  Husband of Linda Lou (Scott) Thompson of Nineveh

Janice Mae (Rockwood) Burrier, 68, Brown County
  Member of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Nashville

  • July 31
    Go Club at the library Thursdays
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • July 31
    Gospel jam session
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • July 31
    WRAPS meetings
    7 to 9 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • July 31
    'Transformers: Age of Extinction' movie at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. Brown County Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren
  • July 31
    Nashville Town Council
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • July 31
    Thursday at BCSP
    10 a.m., 2 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1810 State Road 46 East
  • August 1
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • August 1
    Live music at Out of the Ordinary
    7 p.m. Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 1
    Bean Blossom farmers market Friday
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, State roads 135 North and 45, Bean Blossom
  • August 1
    Friday at BCSP
    10 a.m., 1 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1810 State Road 46 East
  • August 2
    Live jazz at Out of the Ordinary
    7 p.m. Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 2
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 2
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • August 5
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 5
    Van Buren Advisory Board and Fire Board
    6:30 p.m. Van Buren Fire Station, 6801 S. Hamilton Creek Road
  • August 5
    CRC offers orientation for diploma class
    1 p.m. CRC, 246 E. Main St., Nashville
  • August 5
    Chamber of Commerce
    8 a.m. Willow Manor, 72 Willow St.
  • August 5
    Nashville Redevelopment Commission
    4:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • August 5
    CSCD Building Commission
    7 p.m. CSLOA Clubhouse, 8751 Nineveh Road
  • August 5
    Tuesday at BCSP Nature Center
    10 a.m., 2 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1810 State Road 46 East
  • August 6
    Brown County Commissioners
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • August 6
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • August 6
    Local Emergency Planning Committee
    9 a.m. Ambulance Base, 53 State Road 46 East
  • August 6
    BC SWCD
    6:30 p.m. SWCD Office, 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • August 6
    Concerned Citizens of Brown County
    6:30 p.m. Brown County Public Library
  • August 7
    Go Club at the library Thursdays
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 7
    Gospel jam session
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • August 7
    WRAPS meetings
    7 to 9 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 7
    Rotary Club
    7:15 a.m. Artist Colony Inn, 105 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 7
    Nashville Town Council
    6:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • August 7
    CSCD Ecology Commission
    7 p.m. CSLOA Clubhouse, 8751 Nineveh Road
  • August 7
    Thursday at BCSP Nature Center
    10 a.m., 2 p.m., 8 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1810 State Road 46 East
  • August 8
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • August 8
    Live music at Out of the Ordinary
    7 p.m. Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 8
    Bean Blossom farmers market Friday
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, State roads 135 North and 45, Bean Blossom
  • August 9
    'Gangway to Galilee' Bible Camp in Bean Blossom
    8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 5802 N. Old Settlers Road at 135 North
  • August 9
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 9
    Widowed group activities
    2:30 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 9
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • August 9
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • August 9
    Late night dancing at Out of the Ordinary
    9:30 p.m. Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 9
    Second Saturday Village Art Walk
    5 to 8 p.m. Downtown Nashville
  • August 9
    Artists reception at art guild
    5 to 8 p.m. B.C. Art Guild, 48 Van Buren St.
  • August 11
    Beekeepers club
    7 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 11
    BC Animal Control Board
    7 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 12
    CSCD Roads, Security commissions
    6 p.m., 7:30 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive/ CSLOA Clubhouse, 8751 Nineveh Road
  • August 12
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 12
    Widowed group euchre parties
    1 to 4 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 12
    Nashville Parking & Public Facilities
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • August 12
    B.C. 4-H Fair Board
    7 p.m. 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • August 13
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • August 13
    Concerned Citizens of Brown County
    6:30 p.m. Brown County Public Library
  • August 14
    Gospel jam session
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • August 14
    Go Club at the library
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 15
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • August 15
    Bean Blossom farmers market Friday
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, State roads 135 North and 45, Bean Blossom
  • August 16
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 16
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • August 17
    Church hosts 50-year anniversary for Catholic sister
    noon to 3 p.m. St. Agnes Catholic Church, 1008 McLary Road
  • August 18
    Public library executive session
    5:30 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 19
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • August 21
    Gospel jam session
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • August 21
    WRAPS meetings
    7 to 9 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 22
    Live music at Out of the Ordinary
    7 p.m. Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 22
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • August 22
    Bean Blossom farmers market Friday
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, State roads 135 North and 45, Bean Blossom
  • August 23
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 23
    Late night dancing at Out of the Ordinary
    9:30 p.m. Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 23
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • August 26
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • August 26
    Widowed group euchre party
    1 to 4 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 30
    Wagler Dairy hosts fifth annual ice cream social
    4:30 to 8 p.m. Wagler Dairy, 7085 Homestead Road
  • September 13
    Second Saturday Village Art Walk
    5 to 8 p.m. Downtown Nashville
  • September 13
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road