As a newspaper, one would expect that we would always be calling for information to be made public. And, for the most part, that is the case.
It does concern us when public matters are spoken about in a whisper behind closed doors, when elected officials make decisions that affect residents and taxpayers without anyone being able to hear the thoughts and arguments that went into the deliberative process, or when potential conflicts of interest are hidden from prying eyes.
That being said, we also recognize that there are times when a public body needs to keep some information confidential, when the public’s interest in knowing needs to be balanced with the potential damage that could be done if everything were disclosed.
For instance, think about a school board that is discussing what to do in a student disciplinary matter. Does the public have an absolute right to know that Johnny was caught smoking on school property or that Mary and Jane got into a fight in the girls’ bath...
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