The Kentucky League of Cities has returned to its former policy of fulfilling open-records requests from the Lexington Herald-Leader, it announced today. It reserved the right to withhold records that might hurt the insurance business that has turned it from a relatively modest lobbying group to a financial institution.
“While we are withdrawing our opposition to certain requests, we will continue to protect our proprietary interests as we compete in the marketplace every day,” Mayfield Mayor Arthur Byrn, chair of the Kentucky League of Cities Insurance Services board, said in a press release from the league. Last week, the league said it would stop releasing records because it didn't consider itself to be a public agency. Under the state open-records law, entities that get 25 percent or more of the revenue they spend in Kentucky are public agencies.
The league indicated that last week's decision was a public-relations blunder. “Our intent to protect our insurance service programs has been greatly misunderstood to the detriment of the reputation of our organization,” KLC General Counsel Temple Juett said in the release. “Our intent has and always will be to protect the proprietary nature of our business – in particular our insurance services – which were founded in the late '80s when cities could not obtain insurance anywhere and for any price.”
After the Herald-Leader published stories last month about the salaries and expenses of top league executives, it asked the league for records of payments to law firms. That prompted the policy change that was reversed today. For the league's release, click here. For more information, see the item below.