April 16, 1993





IN RE: Louanna Purcell/Pulaski County Schools






This matter comes to the Attorney General on appeal from the actions of the Pulaski County Schools relative to Ms. Louanna Purcell's March 30, 1993, request to inspect a "[l]ine item list of Pulaski County Board of Education employees, certified and classified, their title or position, and salary or wages for the school year 1992-1993." Superintendent Bert Minton responded to Ms. Purcell's request on April 7, 1993. He enclosed a copy of the salary schedule for certified and classified employees, but advised her that "information such as employees' individual salary, rank, etc., are personal and confidential." Superintendent Minton also enclosed a list of employees, by school, in the district, and suggested that Ms. Purcell obtain the information from individual employees.


We are asked to determine if the Pulaski County Schools properly responded to Ms. Purcell's request. For the reasons set forth below, we conclude that the school system erred in refusing to release documents containing the names of its employees, as well as their titles or positions, and salaries or wages for the school year 1992-1993.


We begin by noting that the Pulaski County Schools' response to Ms. Purcell's request was procedurally deficient.

KRS 61.880(1) sets forth procedural guidelines for agency response to an open records request. That statute provides:


Each public agency, upon any request for records made under KRS 61.870 to 61.884, shall determine within three (3) days, excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, after the receipt of any such request whether to comply with the request and shall notify in writing the person making the request, within the three (3) day period, of its decision. An agency response denying, in whole or in part, inspection of any record shall include a statement of the specific exception authorizing the withholding of the record and a brief explanation of how the exception applies to the record withheld. The response shall be issued by the official custodian or under his authority, and it shall constitute final agency action.


Superintendent Minton's response was not issued within three business days, nor did he include a statement of the specific exception authorizing the withholding of the record, and briefly explain how that exception applies to the records withheld. We urge the Pulaski County Schools to review the cited provision to insure that future responses conform to the Open Records Act.


Turning to the substantive issues raised in this appeal, we find that the Pulaski County Schools erred in refusing to release the name, positions, and salaries of its certified and classified employees. This Office has consistently stated that the public is entitled to know the name, position, work station, and salary of a public employee. OAG 76-717; OAG 78-837; OAG 87-37; OAG 87-84; OAG 91-81. These opinions are premised on the idea that "[t]hese are matters in which the public has an interest since [public] employees are carrying on the public's business at public expense." OAG 76-716, p. 1. Contrary to Superintendent Minton's assertions, a public employee's right of privacy extends to his personal life and off-duty activities only. We therefore conclude that the Pulaski County Schools improperly denied Ms. Purcell's request for records relating to the names, positions, and salaries of its certified and classified employees, and should promptly arrange for her to inspect these records.


The Pulaski County Schools may challenge this decision by initiating action in the appropriate circuit court pursuant to KRS 61.880(5) and 61.882.














Distributed to:


Superintendent Bert Minton

Pulaski County Schools

P. O. Box P

Somerset, KY 425022


Ms. Louanna Purcell

1801 N. Highway

Somerset, KY 42501