Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

State Records Committee Appeal 96-02

BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH

Robert O. Strange, Petitioner vs.

Utah Department of Corrections, Respondent

DECISION AND ORDER, Case No. 96-2

Appellant, Robert O. Strange, seeks an order requiring Respondent to supply specific information related to a background investigation of Petitioner that bears on why Petitioner's application for Correctional Officer with Respondent was denied.

Petitioner submitted written materials, but did not appear personally at the hearing or through counsel, as he advised the committee he would not do. Respondent was represented by Edward Kingsford. The State Records Committee, having reviewed the written materials submitted by the parties and having heard testimony and argument, now issues the following decision and order.

STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR DECISION

The appeal is denied. The denial of Respondent was based on Respondent's assertion that the requested information was background investigation material that included "a personal recommendation concerning an individual [and that] disclosure is not in the public interest" and therefore is "protected" under Utah Code Ann. 63-2-304 (24). The Committee determines that the information requested is in the nature of "personal recommendation," and that its release to Petitioner is not in the public interest, since future background investigations could be compromised and persons who provided information could, under a general policy of release of such information, be endangered. This conclusion is reached on balance despite reasonable arguments that it is not correct that "disclosure is not in the public interest" since disclosure of the source and substance of the information could provide a check on the accuracy of the information.

ORDER

WHEREFORE, it is ordered that Appellant's appeal is denied.

RIGHT TO APPEAL

Either party may appeal this Decision and Order to court. The petition for review must be filed no later than 30 days after the date of this order. The petition for judicial review must be a complaint. The complaint and the appeals process are governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and by Utah Code Ann. 63-2-404 (Supp. 1995) and 63-2-502 (7) (Supp. 1995). The Court is required to make its decision de novo. In order to protect its rights of appeal, a party may wish to seek advice from an attorney.

Entered this 28th day of May, 1996.

MAX J. EVANS,
Chair, State Records Committee