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Delaware Department of Justice
Attorney General
Kathy Jennings

 Archived Posts From:  July 1998

98-IB07 Re: Sworn Payroll Information 29 Del. C. § 10002

The Secretary of Labor requested an opinion regarding whether FOIA required the disclosure of sworn payroll statements filed by contractors, with the exception of employee social security numbers. The AG previously determined that such documents were public records, relying heavily on I.B.E.W. v. United States Dep’t of Hous. & Urban Dev., 852 F.2d 87 (3d Cir. 1998), which permitted the disclosure of employee names and addresses, but not social security numbers, under FOIA. The Third Circuit later modified its earlier decision, finding that the disclosure of employees’ names and addresses is no longer required as a consequence of heighted personal privacy concerns raised by decisions in other Circuits and the SCOTUS. HELD: Based on recent Third Circuit precedent, the DOL should discontinue the practice of releasing the names and addresses of employees listed in sworn payroll reports, and the DOL is not required to release the names and addresses of apprentices registered in the Department’s Apprenticeship and Training Program in order to protect the personal privacy of those apprentices. Attorney General Opinion No. 95-IB03 (Jan. 25, 1995) rescinded.

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98-IB05: FOIA Complaint: Appoquinimink School Board

Complainant alleged that the Appoquinimink School District violated FOIA by failing to post notice of a meeting at least seven days in advance. School district replied that the meeting was a special meeting requiring only 24 hours advanced notice. The special meeting was necessary because the district needed to take action on a contract settlement between the district and the teacher’s union, and needed to do so prior to a health plan enrollment deadline. HELD: (i) FOIA only requires a public body to provide notice at its principal office or where its meetings are regularly held. A public body is not restricted in other additional locations it chooses to place or post notices of meetings; (ii) School district violated FOIA by not providing a reason in posted notice of why 7 days notice wasn’t possible for “special” meeting; and (iii) School District violated public meeting requirements by conducting its discussion of the new teachers’ contract in executive session because this is not a “personnel” matter within the meaning of FOIA, which only applies to protect the personal privacy of individual employees, and applies only when the discussion reflects on an individual’s competence or ability.

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