April 23, 1996

In re: Glenn E. Bone/City of Louisville; Civil Service Board


This matter comes to the Attorney General on appeal from the responses of the City of Louisville to Mr. Glenn E. Bone's open records request for copies of all documents and correspondence for the calendar years 1988 through 1995 relating or pertaining to the recruitment and hiring of minorities for the position of police recruit or police officer with the Louisville Division of Police.

In his open records request dated December 12, 1995, Mr. Bone sets forth the following as examples of the documents which he was seeking:

specific goals, methods to ensure these goals are met, methods to ensure an adequate minority hiring pool, quotas, methods to ensure these quotas are met, documents and correspondence to and from the Division of Police and the Civil Service Board, documents and correspondence to and from any individual or groups of individuals, documents and correspondence to and from any government agency concerning affirmative action as stated above.

By letter dated December 18, 1995, Mark W. Dobbins responded to Mr. Bone's request on behalf of the City and the Louisville Civil Service Board. In his response, Mr. Dobbins states in part:

It is my opinion that your request is overly broad and burdensome and, therefore, KRS 61.872(6) grants the Civil Service Board and the City the authority to deny your request. The records you seek cannot be readily accessed. In fact, if they exist, they are not confined to a single file or group of files or records. However, in spite of this, the Board and the City are prepared to make a voluntary effort to respond.

A meeting has been scheduled for this week to review your request and to attempt to identify what documents the Board and the City might have which fall within the descriptions in your letter.

Phyllis Attiba Brown [Affirmative Action Administrator, City of Louisville] has stated that she will make available her records for our review. Also, of course, you are welcome to again review the Civil Service Board's minutes for references to affirmative action issues involving the Division of Police. We will also consider whether there are any other specific Civil Service Board records which should be produced.

Perhaps we can provide certain records with a bit more time to consider your request and to ascertain what records may be available.

In his letter of appeal, Mr. Bone appeals the City's refusal to provide him with the documents he requested on December 12, 1995, and two previous requests in November, 1995, relating to the recruitment and hiring of minorities for the position of police recruit with the Louisville Division of Police.

After receipt of the letter of appeal and as authorized by KRS 61.880(2), Mr. Dobbins provided this office with a copy of the City's April 11, 1996 letter to Mr. Bone regarding the issues he raises in the instant open records appeal. In this letter, Mr. Dobbins advises Mr. Bone that the Civil Service Board had given him the opportunity to review the Board's minute book which reflects the official actions of the Board in connection with affirmative action goals and related matters, including recruitment activities of the Board's minority recruitment specialists, and had provided him with materials relating to affirmative action plans, eligibility lists which reflect candidates as well as those hired, Board rules on hiring, and numerous other items.

In addition to the above, Mr. Dobbins indicated that he would make the Board's annual reports, which are incorporated into the Board minutes, available for Mr. Bone's inspection in that they may contain information of interest to him. Along with his letter, Mr. Dobbins enclosed additional items of correspondence obtained from the minority recruiting specialist of the Board relative to her recruitment efforts.

For the reasons which follow, it is the conclusion of this office that the responses of the City and the Board to Mr. Bone's requests were consistent with and in compliance with the Open Records Act.

We concur with Mr. Dobbins's view that Mr. Bone's request was somewhat overly broad and burdensome in that it asked for documents and correspondence on a particular subject matter without specifying a specific document. This is particularly so where the request covered a seven year period, and the documents, if they existed, were not confined to a particular file or group of files or records.

As a precondition to inspection, a requesting party must identify with “reasonable particularity” those documents which he wishes to review. OAG 91-58. We have previously held that “[b]lanket requests for information on a particular subject without specifying certain documents need not be honored.” 95-ORD-27.

Although the City and the Board believed that the request could be denied on the basis of KRS 61.872(6), the agencies voluntarily attempted to provide Mr. Bone with the records he requested. As set out above, numerous documents were either made available for his inspection or provided to him. Thus, it is the decision of this office that the responses to Mr. Bone's requests were in substantial compliance with the Open Records Act. Should Mr. Bone, as a result of his review of the provided records, identify records he seeks with greater precision, he should resubmit his request for those particular records.

A party aggrieved by this decision may appeal it by initiating action in the appropriate circuit court pursuant to KRS 61.880(5) and KRS 61.882. Pursuant to KRS 61.880(3), the Attorney General should be notified of any action in circuit court, but should not be named as a party in that action or in any subsequent proceeding.






Distributed to:

Glenn E. Bone

1032 South Sixth Street

Louisville, Kentucky 40203

Mark W. Dobbins

Tilford, Dobbins, Alexander

Buckaway & Black

1400 One Riverfront Plaza

Louisville, Kentucky 40202