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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Salt Lake Trib Wins A Lawsuit Over Records It Should Have Been Handed The Day It Asked For Them...

Isn't it maddening that a fine FOI newspaper like the Salt Lake Tribune has to waste its litigation bullets on stuff that it should simply be handed that day of teh request? Madness!

Overtime and bonuses for city employees are fair game for public inspection, according to a court decision in a lawsuit between Sandy City and The Salt Lake Tribune.

The Tribune in 2004 requested records containing the names, positions, genders, pay and benefits for Sandy City police officers and fire department employees. The city refused to release certain details, claiming that an individual's bonus and overtime records are private information and not subject to the state Government Records Access and Management Act, which lists a public employee's "gross compensation" as a public record.

Sandy City offered to provide one figure reflecting the sum of overtime, bonus and regular pay for each employee, but Tribune reporters had requested a breakdown of total pay.

"Every other city they asked gave them that information," said Michael Patrick O'Brien, attorney for The Tribune.

The State Records Committee in 2005 upheld the Tribune's request, but Sandy City appealed the decision to the 3rd District Court.

In an opinion filed Friday, Judge Robert P. Faust rejected Sandy City attorneys' definition of "gross compensation" as a total sum that does not segregate overtime and bonuses from regular pay - a definition they supported with Webster's Dictionary, Faust wrote.

More here.

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