Mayor Shelton Claims “Not Responsible” for Public Records

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In contrast to his 2015 promise of “Public Records? Come get ‘em”, Mayor Shelton has scheduled a court hearing for Monday where the mayor’s attorney will argue that Mayor Shelton is “not responsible” for the Public Records of the City of Central.
In Monday’s Motion for Summary Judgment hearing, Central’s City Attorney, paid for with Central citizens’ tax dollars, will argue that “Mayor Shelton does not maintain custody or control of the city’s public records.” In a 2015 Advocate article Mayor Shelton stated: "We have nothing to hide” and "If you're operating your government the way you're supposed to, I welcome anybody to come and ask for public records." According to court documents, Mayor Shelton’s attorney will argue that citizens can “ask for public records”, but they must ask the city’s private contractor, IBTS, and not Mayor Shelton.
The hearing is a part of a larger legal process which began in 2015, when the city admitted to having withheld public records pertaining to a zoning challenge for the Shoe Creek development. Three citizens challenged the city’s allowing 250 apartments to be built in the Shoe Creek development across Wax Road from Walmart, when Central’s zoning code allowed for only 42 apartments. Only after the Shoe Creek trial ended did the city admit to having withheld public records, without the legally required notice, and those records have still not been produced over two years later.
This is the second major legal challenge in the area of public records in the City of Central. In 2010 another newspaper, the Central City News, unsuccessfully sued to obtain the records of Central’s city services contractor CH2M Hill. Recently, Central Speaks was denied access to the financial records showing how the $4 million in city funding provided to the current city services contractor, IBTS, is spent. City of Central elected officials and IBTS have taken the position that the citizens of Central have no right to view these records.