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Uncompensated Public Officials' Personal Information Not Protected Per Tennessee State Law

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Reviewed Date: August 05, 2019

Original Author: 
Hodge, Elisha
Co-author: 
Hodge, Elisha
Date Created: 
May 17, 2019


Subjects:
Records management--Open records

Uncompensated Public Officials' Personal Information Not Protected Per Tennessee State Law

Summary: 
If council members are uncompensated, they cannot be considered "public employees" whose information is protected pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. Section 10-7-504(f). Hodge, the Tennessee Open Records Counsel at the time of this letter, also offers suggestions for improved processes in filling the request in question.

7/20/2017

Dear City Recorder,
 
To follow-up on our conversation this morning, I think that the contact information for the council members is public information if it is maintained. You indicated during our conversation that the council members are not compensated. As such, I do not think that they can be considered "public employees" whose information is protected pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. Section 10-7-504(f). I do however suggest that you consider whether or not you want to continue to provide this particular information over the phone. You might want to consider the following:
 
1. requiring requestors make formal written requests for the information if they want a copy or if they just want to inspect, have the requestors come into the office during normal business hours to do so; and
 
2. requiring that whether the request is for a copy of for inspection, each requestor present a government issued photo id that includes an address in order to obtain the information.
 
By doing these things, you will have a record of the individual who is requesting this information.
 
Please let me know if you have other questions.
 
Elisha D. Hodge
Tennessee Open Records Counsel
 


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