Posted on Jan 19, 2005 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 05-03
January 19, 2005
Charter Provision Providing Greater Disclosure

The Department of Finance, County of Kauai (“Finance”) asked the OIP for an opinion concerning the disclosure of the job titles and the exact salaries of covered employees by Finance to the Kauai County Council (“Council”).

Finance asked whether a provision in the Revised Charter of the County of Kauai (“Charter”), requiring the Council to make the information publicly available upon its receipt from Finance, is in conflict with and contrary to the UIPA provision that recognizes a covered employee’s significant privacy interest in such information.

The OIP found that a county charter provision requiring disclosure of the exact salaries of covered employees is not contrary to the UIPA. The UIPA is premised on disclosure, i.e., on allowing public access to records maintained by state and county agencies. While the UIPA confers on an agency the discretion to withhold certain types of records (or certain types of information contained in records), it does not require an agency to deny access to those records.

Accordingly, the OIP does not believe that a county charter provision that requires disclosure of records that could otherwise be withheld under the UIPA violates or otherwise contradicts the statute.

full text