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Thursday, June 25, 2015

PAC Issues 4th Opinion of 2015

It's been a slow year in the PAC office, with the issuance of only the 4th binding opinion of 2015 just coming out. In PAC Op. 15-004, the PAC found a public body in violation of FOIA for denying a request for a copy of an agreement that settled a lawsuit between the City and an employee. The public body had denied the request, citing the personal privacy exemption and that the non-disclosure provisions in the settlement agreement prohibited release.

The PAC rejected that argument on three grounds. First, the PAC found that section 2.20 of FOIA mandated that all settlement agreements are public records. Second, the PAC noted that the non-disclosure provision in the agreement only prohibited disclosure by the former employee, not the City. Third, the PAC stated that the personal privacy exemption does not apply to information that "bears on the public duties of public employees." The PAC rejected the employee's concerns that release of this information would lead to an "uncomfortable work environment" with her co-workers, finding that release of the agreement outweighed any expectation of privacy she might have in keeping the terms of her settlement with the City private.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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