AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

A victory for open government

In a victory for public access, Tisdale brought the suit after a 2012 incident in which she was forced from a public meeting about a water-sharing agreement. The mayor told her filming was not authorized, even though Georgia law clearly states that audio and video recording of public meetings is allowed.

Tisdale covers public meetings armed with a video camera and publishes on her website, AboutForsyth.com, and on social media. She’s a formidable advocate for open government and has had other encounters when she protested being prohibited from filming, including a Roswell city council work session and a Forsyth County candidate forum.

Attorney General Sam Olens also brought suit against Cumming in state court and won that complaint in 2014.

“Citizens have a right to know what their government is doing,” Tisdale said in a news release.

“This settlement sends a powerful message that government officials cannot shroud their operations in secrecy by barring truth-telling video. But more, the lawsuit has unveiled decades-old practices of an entrenched City government that has left its citizens in the dark. The Mayor’s actions were a blatant violation of citizens’ constitutional rights to record public meetings,” said Gerry Weber, Tisdale’s lead attorney.

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