AG Rutledge: Summary of Opinions

Opinion Number: 2021-073 Requestor:   Eads, Lance The Honorable

In light of the City of Springdale’s determination that the mayor is the immediate supervisor of the fire chief, would the mayor be legally permitted to attend an executive session of the Springdale Civil Service Commission if requested to do so by that Commission?  RESPONSE:  Yes, as the immediate supervisor of the fire chief, the mayor may attend an executive session of the Springdale Civil Service Commission at the Commission’s request, provided that the session is held to discuss certain personnel matters regarding the fire chief.

Opinion Number: 2021-098 Requestor:   Hancock, Charles D., Esq.

Is the decision of the custodian of records to release a former City of Little Rock employee’s personnel file in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request consistent with provisions of the FOIA?  RESPONSE:  My duty under subdivision 25-19-105(c)(3)(B) is to state whether the custodian’s decision as to the release of “personnel or evaluation records” is consistent with the FOIA.  Because I have not seen any records that the City has determined to be responsive to the instant FOIA request, I cannot opine about the releasability of any specific document or the need to redact any specific piece of information from an otherwise releasable document.  However, I will set out the legal standards the custodian must apply to determine whether certain employee-related records must be disclosed.  As explained in the opinion, these records can include both “personnel” and “employee evaluation or job performance” records.  Properly classifying a record is critical so that the appropriate test for disclosure can be applied.  This is the responsibility of the custodian in the first instance.

For a full-text version of this or other Attorney General Opinions, visit www.ArkansasAG.gov/opinions

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