It took nearly two years and a lawsuit to force a publicly owned hospital in Tennessee to disclose the salary information of its senior administrators, according to a news release from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
Cookeville Regional Medical Center Authority released the information to the Herald-Citizen newspaper recently, a few weeks after the paper filed a lawsuit with support from the RCFP.
The Herald-Citizen first sought the records in 2021 after the hospital hired the town’s part-time mayor as its chief strategy officer, a new position that the hospital never publicly advertised, according to the RCFP. The mayor had a role in approving the hospital’s budget as a member of the city council.
“It’s a community-owned hospital, so the public obviously has an interest in what happens there,” said Herald-Citizen Editor Lindsay Pride in the RCFP release.
According to the RCFP’s Open Government Guide, salary information for employees of Tennessee’s public entities are open, public records.