Did four commissioners violate the Sunshine Law?

Knoxville (WVLT) - Four Knox County Commissioners could be in violation of the Sunshine Law again.

The news came out Monday night at the commission meeting when four commissioners admitted to talking to other commissioners outside of public meetings.
The Knox County Commission was found guilty last year for violating the Open Meetings Law. So to see if commissioners were in compliance with the Sunshine Law, the Law Director asked each commissioner two questions.

"Have any of you discussed with a commissioner outside a meeting items set on next agenda?" "Have any of you discussed with another commissioner outside public meeting items that can publicly appear on an agenda?" Law Director John Owings said.

Greg Lumpy Lambert and Robert Roundtree admitted to talking on the phone about the Charter Review Committee. Commissioners Paul Pinkston and Victoria Defreese also admitted to talking about meeting for a public forum. All four commissioners say they were under the impression they could talk, as long as they told someone after they did so, but Law Director John Owings says that's not the case.

"We are under an injunction we are punished by a judge so yes a judge has ruled on us something i don't think any other body in state of tennessee," commissioner Mike Hammond said.

Commissioner Scott Moore refused to answer until he's spoken with his attorney. Other commissioners were still confused as to when they can talk outside of meetings.

"It's a Catch 22 if you can't set up an Open Meeting Law without violating Open Meeting Act this is utterly ridiculous," Lambert said.

These potential violations will go into Owings semi-annual report in April. Any action will be taken then. The law director says under the injunction, commissioners are not allowed to talk about anything that has to do with Knox County Business.

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