Wednesday, January 26, 2011

AG lets superintendent keep calendar private; tells PVA to release employees' vehicle records

Attorney General Jack Conway has ruled that the appointment calendar of the Fayette County school superintendent is not an open record. The school system successfully relied on an open-records decision that allowed Brereton Jones to keep his appointment ledger secret when he was governor in 1991-95.

The case began when Brenda D. Allen requested the calendar of Supt. Stu Silberman from Jan. 1, 2009, through Nov. 22, 2010. Allen said the calendar must be archived for two years and the "issues of confidentiality" that a governor might have do not apply to a school superintendent. Conway disagreed, citing the Jones case, which said calendars are "preliminary drafts" and "are part of the tools which a public employee or officer uses in hammering out official action within the function of his office. They are expressly exempted by the Open Records Law and may be destroyed or kept at will and are not subject to public inspection." Conway also found that a superintendent has issues of confidentiality described in the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act when meetings concerning individual students occur.

Conway ruled for open government in another case, saying the Jefferson County property valuation administrator improperly relied on the federal Drivers Privacy Protection Act in denying Kevin Wilkins’ Dec. 7 request for “a list of locations of all real and personal property” owned by four named employees. Conway's opinion, drafted by Assistant Attorney General Amye Bensenhaver, cited a Connecticut court decision that tax assessors are not covered by the privacy act, and noted that PVAs don't have records with the information protected by the federal law, which prohibits release of personal information that identifies someone, such as a driver license, Social Security or telephone number. (Read more)

Conway's office lists all open records opinions since 1993, in chronological order.

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