State Records Committee Appeal 2007-09
BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH
KATIE PATTERSON, Petitioner, vs.
UNIVERSITY OF UTAH, Respondent.
DECISION AND ORDER
Case No. 07-09
By this appeal, Katie Patterson seeks access to records of the University of Utah, specifically the employee roster, including names, titles and salaries of the employees of the University of Utah Animal Research Center ("ARC"). Ms. Patterson also appeals the University's fee determination for access to the records. The State Records Committee, having reviewed the materials submitted by the parties, and having heard oral argument and testimony on June 28, 2007, now issues the following Decision and Order.
STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR DECISION
The Government Records Access and Management Act ("GRAMA") specifies that "all records are public unless otherwise expressly provided by statute." Utah Code Ann. 63-2-201(2). Records that are not public are designated as either "private," "protected," or "controlled." See Utah Code Ann. 63-2-302, -303 and -304. The University of Utah denied Ms. Patterson the records she seeks on the grounds that the records were not required to be disclosed pursuant to Utah Code Ann. 63-2-301(2)(b)(ii), were private records pursuant to Utah Code Ann. 63-2-302(2)(c) and (d) , and protected records pursuant to Utah Code Ann. 63-2-304(10, (11), and (27). Ms. Patterson also appealed the University's determination of fees.
The Committee is persuaded that the records, although generally public, are in this instance properly classified as protected records pursuant to Utah Code Ann. 63-2-304(10), "records the disclosure of which would jeopardize the life or safety of an individual."
The Committee is also convinced that the University may appropriately charge a reasonable fee to cover the University's actual cost of providing the records, and so denies any requested fee waiver. The Committee is convinced that the hourly charge as the fee may not exceed the salary of the lowest paid employee who has the necessary skill and training to perform the request.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT the appeal of Katie Patterson is denied in part and granted in part. The names of the employees of the Animal Resource Center, which would generally be public, are properly classified as "protected" pursuant to Utah Code Ann. 63-2-304(10) as records the disclosure of which would jeopardize the life or safety of an individual. The University shall provide the titles and salaries of the employees as requested, with the identifying names redacted.
The University may charge a reasonable fee to cover the University's actual cost of providing the records. This fee shall not exceed the salary of the lowest paid employee who has the necessary skill and training to perform the request, minus the first quarter hour spent fulfilling the request.
RIGHT TO APPEAL
Either party may appeal this Decision and Order to the District Court. The petition for review must be filed no later than thirty (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 Utah Code Ann. 63-2-404. The court is required to make its decision de novo. In order to protect its rights on appeal, a party may wish to seek advice from an attorney.
Pursuant to Utah Code Ann. 63-2-403(14)(d), the government entity herein shall comply with the order of the Committee and, if records are ordered to be produced, file (i) a notice of compliance with the records committee upon production of the records; or (ii) a notice of intent to appeal. If the government entity fails to file a notice of compliance or a notice of intent to appeal, the Committee may do either or both of the following: (a) impose a civil penalty of up to $500 for each day of continuing noncompliance; or (b) send written notice of the entity's noncompliance to the Governor for executive branch entities, to the Legislative Management Committee for legislative branch entities, and to the Judicial Council for judicial branch agencies entities.
Entered this 2nd day of July, 2007.
BY THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE
Scott Whittaker, Chairperson pro tem
State Records Committee