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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 »

Bill J. Adams, 78, Morgantown
  

Thomas Heacox, 80, Greenwood
  Stepfather of Dewayne Clark and Michael Clark of Trafalgar

Bruce Van Winkle, 71, Morgantown
  Husband of Jeanette (Everts) Van Winkle

  • 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 22
    Friday at BCSP Nature Center
    10 a.m., 2 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1810 State Road 46 East
  • August 22
    Dave Miller at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 22
    'Planes: Fire & Rescue' movie at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. Brown County Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren
  • 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 23
    Shriners' benefit music revue at the Playhouse
    7:30 p.m. Brown County Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren
  • August 23
    Saturday at BCSP
    2 p.m., 8 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1810 State Road 46 East
  • August 23
    Lake Lemon Conservancy District
    10 a.m. Riddle Point Park Shelter House, 7599 N. Tunnel Road, Unionville
  • August 23
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 23
    Live music at Big Woods Pizza Co.
    8 to 10 p.m. Big Woods Pizza Co., 44 N. Van Buren St.
  • August 23
    Cemetery association meeting slated
    6 p.m. Christiansburg United Methodist Church, 7372 Christianberg Road
  • August 24
    Snake talk at BCSP Nature Center
    2 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1810 State Road 46 East
  • August 24
    'Planes: Fire & Rescue' movie at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. Brown County Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren
  • August 25
    Monday at BCSP Nature Center
    10 a.m., 2 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1810 State Road 46 East
  • 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 26
    BC Area Plan Commission
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • August 26
    Geology talk at BCSP Nature Center
    10 a.m. Brown County State Park, 1810 State Road 46 East
  • August 27
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • August 27
    BC Parks & Rec. Board
    5:15 p.m. BC Parks & Rec. Office, 1001 Deer Run Lane
  • August 27
    BC Board of Zoning Appeals
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • August 27
    Wednesday at BCSP Nature Center
    10 a.m., 2 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1810 State Road 46 East
  • August 28
    Go Club at the library Thursdays
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • August 28
    Gospel jam session
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • August 28
    Free Merchants' Night at the Playhouse
    7:30 p.m. Brown County Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren
  • August 28
    Rotary Club
    7:15 a.m. Artist Colony Inn, 105 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 28
    Salt Creek Trail Committee
    10 a.m. BC Parks & Rec. Office, 1001 Deer Run Lane
  • August 29
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • August 29
    Bean Blossom farmers market Friday
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, State roads 135 North and 45, Bean Blossom
  • August 29
    Old Settlers and Antique Engine & Tractor show
    4:30 to 9:15 p.m. Brown County 4-H Fairgrounds
  • August 29
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 30
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • August 30
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • August 30
    'The Hundred-Foot Journey' movie at the Playhouse
    1 p.m. Brown County Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren
  • August 30
    Wagler Dairy hosts fifth annual ice cream social
    4:30 to 8 p.m. Wagler Dairy, 7085 Homestead Road
  • August 30
    Salute to young Elvis at The Playhouse
    7:30 p.m. Brown County Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren
  • August 30
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, Coachlight Square, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • August 30
    CSLOA and firemen host ox roast
    11 a.m. to 7 p.m. CSLOA Clubhouse, 8751 Nineveh Road
  • August 30
    Old Settlers and Antique Engine & Tractor show
    11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Brown County 4-H Fairgrounds
  • August 31
    'The Hundred-Foot Journey' movie at the Playhouse
    1 p.m. Brown County Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren
  • September 2
    Magic club
    5 p.m., 6:30 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • September 2
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • September 3
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • September 3
    Hamblen Fire Protection District
    7 p.m. Hamblen Fire Station, 4650 Sweetwater Trail, Nineveh
  • September 3
    Woodworkers club
    7 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • September 4
    Go Club at the library
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • September 4
    Gospel jam session
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • September 4
    WRAPS meetings
    7 to 9 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • September 5
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • September 5
    Bean Blossom farmers market Friday
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, State roads 135 North and 45, Bean Blossom
  • September 6
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • September 6
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • September 7
    Live fingerstyle at dance barn
    4:30 p.m., 6 p.m. Mike's Dance Barn, 2277 State Road 46 West
  • September 8
    Paper craft club organizes first meeting as part of county extension homemakers association
    5:30 p.m. Wishful Thinking, 150 Old School Way
  • September 9
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • September 9
    Friends of the Library: Author Perry to speak, sign books
    7 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • September 10
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • September 11
    Gospel jam session
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • September 12
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • September 12
    Bean Blossom farmers market Friday
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, State roads 135 North and 45, Bean Blossom
  • September 13
    Hoosier Hops and Harvest at Story Inn
    1 to 7 p.m. Story Inn, 6404 State Road 135 South
  • September 13
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • 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
  • September 13
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • September 13
    Raptor center fundraiser at Abe Martin Lodge
    5 to 9 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1810 State Road 46 East
  • September 16
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • September 18
    WRAPS meetings
    7 to 9 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • October 11
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • October 11
    Second Saturday Village Art Walk
    5 to 8 p.m. Downtown Nashville