April 23, 1993






IN RE: Charles W. Campbell/Simpson County Board of Education




This matter comes to the Attorney General on appeal from the Simpson County Board of Education's denial of Superintendent Charles W. Campbell's February 25, 1993, request to inspect "any information including [the] reason or reasons pertaining to [his] contract non-renewal." On behalf of the Simpson County Board of Education, Chairman Sid Raby responded to Supt. Campbell's request advising him:


[Y]our request for 'information' does not fall within the definition of 'public records' under KRS 61.870, which defines 'public records' to mean 'all books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, disks, diskettes, recordings or other documentary materials regardless of physical form or characteristics, which are prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by a public agency.' Accordingly, your request as submitted is denied.


Chairman Raby further advised Supt. Campbell that to the extent that his request for information "includes any public records," that request was also denied. He explained that "there are no specific documents that enumerate the Board's collective reasons for the non-renewal of [his] contract." Any records which the individual Board members relied on prior to their vote on the issue are exempt, according to Chairman Raby, under KRS 61.878(1)(a).


We are asked to determine if the Simpson County Board of Education, through its Chairman, properly denied Supt. Campbell's request to inspect "information including [the] reason or reasons pertaining to the non-renewal of [his] [c]ontract." For the reasons set forth below, we conclude that Chairman Raby's response was only partially consistent with the Open Records Act.


This Office has repeatedly recognized that the Kentucky Open Records Act was not intended to provide a requester with particular "information," or to require public agencies to compile information to conform to the parameters of a given request. See, e.g., OAG 76-375; OAG 79-547; OAG 81-333; OAG 86-51; OAG 87-84; OAG 89-77; OAG 89-81; OAG 90-91. Rather, the Act provides for inspection of reasonably identified records. Supt. Campbell's request may be characterized as a request for specific information, as opposed to a request to inspect reasonably described documents. He asks for "information . . . pertaining to the nonrenewal of [his] [c]ontract."


At page 3 of OAG 87-84, the Attorney General observed:


Public agencies are not required by the Open Records Act to gather and supply information independent of that which is set forth in public records. The public has a right to inspect public documents and to obtain whatever information is contained in them but the primary impact of the Open Records Act is to make records available for inspection and copying and not to require the gathering and supplying of information.


It is the opinion of this Office that Chairman Raby properly responded to Supt. Campbell's request for information relating to the non-renewal of his contract by advising him that the information requested is not available in an existing document.


We are not, however, persuaded by Chairman Raby's argument that any records which contain information bearing on the decision not to renew Supt. Campbell's contract are exempt from inspection under KRS 61.878(1)(a). In 93-ORD-19, a copy of which is attached, this Office held that KRS 61.878(3)

overrides any of the exemptions to public inspection set forth in KRS 61.878(1)(a)-(i), with the exception of those noted in the concluding sentence of the provision, when an open records request is submitted by a public agency employee. KRS 61.878(3) states:


No exemption in this section shall be construed to deny, abridge or impede the right of a public agency employee, including university employees, an applicant for employment, or an eligible on a register to inspect and to copy any record including preliminary and other supporting documentation that relates to him. The records shall include, but not be limited to, work plans, job performance, demotions, evaluations, promotions, compensation, classification, reallocation, transfers, layoffs, disciplinary actions, examination scores and preliminary and other supporting documentation. A public agency employee, including university employees, applicant or eligible shall not have the right to inspect or to copy any examination or any documents relating to ongoing criminal or administrative investigations by an agency.


Since KRS 61.878(3) provides that none of the exceptions codified at KRS 61.878(1)(a)-(i) may be construed to impede the right of a public employee to review and copy all records which relate to him, we believe that any records relied upon by the Board members in reaching their decision relative to Supt. Campbell's contract must be released to him forthwith.


Supt. Campbell and the Simpson County Board of Education may challenge this decision by initiating action in the appropriate circuit court pursuant to KRS 61.880(5) and KRS 61.882.














Distributed to:


Mr. Sid Raby, Chairman

Simpson County Board of Education

P. O. Box 467

Franklin, KY 42135-0467


Supt. Charles W. Campbell

Simpson County Board of Education

P. O. Box 467

Franklin, KY 42135-0467