Monday, August 22, 2011

Series on questionable disability payments in Lexington led to closure of records involved

Sometimes journalism based on public records prompts government officials to hide the records to prevent further journalism about them.

In 2005, the Lexington Herald-Leader revealed "a high rate of disability pensions among Lexington police officers and firefighters. The stories named pensioners with allegedly severe physical ailments who remained competitive athletes or who returned to the public payroll for new jobs similar to their old ones," John Cheves writes for the newspaper.

"Change came almost immediately. But not to the system doling out millions of dollars in disability pensions every year. Rather, the public no longer has access to many city records the newspaper used to report its stories. Police and fire unions successfully lobbied the General Assembly in 2006 to exempt those documents from the Kentucky Open Records Act." (Read more)

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