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Delaware Department of Justice
Attorney General
Kathy Jennings




 Pages Categorized With: "10002(l) (1) Exemptions – Personnel"

06-IB11 RE: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against Capital School District

Complainant alleged that the Capital School District violated FOIA when it did not provide information regarding an employee’s attendance records and sign-out sheets. HELD: Overwhelming weight of authority in other states and federal cases leads office to believe that Delaware courts would hold that the personnel file exemption under Delaware’s FOIA does not exempt from disclosure the attendance records or time sheets of a public employee because disclosure would not constitute an invasion of personal privacy. Just as the public has a right to know the salary paid to public employees, the public also has a right to know when their public employees are and are not performing the duties for which they are paid. A Public body may redact from attendance records or time sheets of a public employee information regarding the specific nature of his or her illness or medical treatment of the name of the doctor.

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05-IB20 RE: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against the Capital School District

Complainant alleges that the School District violated the FOIA public records requirements by providing interview questions but declining to provide interviewers’ assessments of the qualifications and abilities of the applicants. Held: the School District did not violate FOIA public records requirements by denying access to the scoring sheets of interview panel members compiled during the applicant selection process for a new driver education instructor because that information is exempt from disclosure to protect individual privacy for the same reasons that the statute expressly authorizes a public body to meet in private to discuss the an individual’s qualifications for public employment.

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05-IB13 Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against Town of Laurel

Complainant alleged the Town violated the public records by not providing requestor with a copy of the Town’s Employment Agreement with the town manager as well as his current salary and the proposed future salaries voted on at last night’s. Requestor asked Town Manager for the information the day after the meeting and the Town Manager responded the same day temporarily denying the request until the employment contract was reviewed by legal counsel to make sure it was not contrary to state law, the town charter or violated any other personnel regulations. Four weeks after the request, the Council was presented with a draft for review. The Council approved the final employment contract with the Town Manager about 2 weeks after the interim meeting and 3 days later requestor was sent a copy of the final employment contract. Held: the Town violated FOIA’s public records requirements by not providing requestor with a copy of the draft employment contract with the Town Manager after the Council voted at a public meeting 4 weeks after her request to approve the contract subject to review by legal counsel.

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03-IB01 Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against New Castle County

The Complainant alleged that New Castle County (“the County”) violated FOIA by not providing her with the “names, addresses, or telephone numbers for the President or other contact persons” for maintenance corporations registered with the County on the ground of personal privacy. Held: the names of the presidents and the contact address for each corporation are public information under FOIA. However the County did not violate the open records requirements of FOIA by denying access to the home and work telephone numbers of such presidents.

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02-IB24 Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against New Castle County

The Complainant alleged that New Castle County (“the County”) violated FOIA by not providing you with copies of any checks payable to Sharon Hughes, former legislative aide to New Castle Councilman J. Christopher Roberts, or her attorney, Richard J. Wier, Jr., Esquire, relating to the legal settlement of a personnel matter between the County and Ms. Hughes. Held: any nondisclosure provision in a settlement agreement between Ms. Hughes and the County cannot override the public records requirements of FOIA and that the County violated FOIA by not providing you with access to documents relating to the settlement of a legal claim between Ms. Hughes and the County.

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01-IB17 Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against City of Dover

Complainant alleged that the City of Dover violated the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) because it failed to provide him with the names and addresses of retired city employees. Held: FOIA does not require the disclosure of personnel file information if that disclosure would constitute an invasion of personal privacy. Relying on both Supreme Court and Third Circuit case law, and distinguishing prior attorney general opinions related to the names and salaries of current public employees, the opinion holds that Delaware’s FOIA protects the “names and addresses of retired public employees because disclosure of that information would invade their privacy.” There was no FOIA violation.

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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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96-IB30: Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint dated May 30, 1996 Woodbridge School District

The Complainant alleged that Woodbridge School District Board of Education violated the open meeting requirement of the Freedom of Information Act by holding an executive session for the purpose of discussing applications for a scholarship. The Board argued that because review of the applications required discussion of financial eligibility and review of tax return documents and pupil files which are protected under FOIA, the applications could not be reviewed in open meeting. Held: because the review of applications involved review of documents which are protected under the FOIA, there was no violation of the open meeting requirement.

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96-IB13 Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Salary Information for Municipal Employees

The Complainant alleged that multiple municipalities improperly withheld the names and salaries of municipality employees. The municipalities argued that releasing such information would be a violation of personal privacy, and that to release the information would require retrieving the information from tax forms which are exempt from disclosure. Held: salaries and names must be disclosed. If they are contained in documents which are exempted from disclosure, the information should be taken from those documents and provided in a releasable format. How the municipalities would like to release the information to the Complainant is up to the municipalities.

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95-IB34 Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint 29 Del. C. § 10005(e)

The Complainant alleged that the school district impermissibly withheld documents regarding the status of a teacher and what was being done to address problems with that teacher. The District replied that they had provided all the public documents they had, had conducted meetings regarding the teacher and had no more information to provide. Held: the District has fulfilled its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act and there is no violation.

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