Written on: December 11th, 1996 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
Requestor sought an opinion on whether the names and addresses of Delaware business license holders constitute public records under the Freedom of Information Act. Held: as a general rule, the names and addresses of the holders of business licenses are exempt from disclosure by a common law right of privacy. In certain situations, the balance between a private right of informational privacy may be outweighed by the public interest in disclosure, but only if disclosure will contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of government, as opposed to the commercial interest of the requestor. However, it is difficult to conceive of a situation in which the reason for requesting the names and addresses of business license holders would be for any purpose other than the commercial interest of the requestor.
Written on: May 6th, 1996 in 10002(l) (1) Exemptions - Personnel
The Complainant alleged that multiple municipalities improperly withheld the names and salaries of municipality employees. The municipalities argued that releasing such information would be a violation of personal privacy, and that to release the information would require retrieving the information from tax forms which are exempt from disclosure. Held: salaries and names must be disclosed. If they are contained in documents which are exempted from disclosure, the information should be taken from those documents and provided in a releasable format. How the municipalities would like to release the information to the Complainant is up to the municipalities.
Written on: September 27th, 1995 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
Civil Division – New Castle County September 27, 1995 Del. Op. Atty. Gen. 95-IB30 (Del.A.G.), 1995 WL 794497 (permitting the Director of the Division of Revenue, the state agency charged with administering and enforcing Delaware tax laws, to access Social Security numbers maintained by the Division of Motor Vehicles) Michael O. McCann Deputy Administrator Department […]
Written on: March 20th, 1995 in 10002(l) (1) Exemptions - Personnel
The Complainant alleged that Seaford, Indian River, Laurel, Woodbridge and Milford School Districts improperly refused to provide the names and salaries of all district teachers. The districts provided the salaries, but not names, of the teachers. Held: there is no statutory exemption that prevents the disclosure of public school districts’ teachers’ names and salaries.
Written on: February 13th, 1995 in 10002(l) (1) Exemptions - Personnel
The Requestor sought clarification on whether apprentice agreements, which contain personal information such as name and salary of apprentices, should be released under the Freedom of Information Act. Each agreement was stamped that it could not be disclosed without permission. Held: this stamp created an expectation of privacy that would not typically be applied to names and salaries. Therefore, the agreements should not be released pursuant to the exception for “any personnel, medical or pupil file, the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy, under this legislation or under any State or federal law as it relates to personal privacy.” 29 Del. C. 10002(l)(1). However, if this stamp is removed from the agreements, the records should be provided under FOIA.
Written on: January 25th, 1995 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
The Requestor sought clarification on what information should be released pursuant to FOIA requests for sworn payroll records filed with the Delaware Department of Labor pursuant to prevailing wage law requirements. These records contain the name, address and Social Security number of each employee working on the public project, the employee’s work classification, total hours worked, rate of pay, amount earned, deductions, types of benefits provided and the cost of those benefits. Held: sworn payroll records must be released under FOIA but social security numbers of workers must be redacted in order to protect the personal privacy of the individuals. Note: this opinion was rescinded and superseded by Del. Op. Att’y Gen. 98-IB07 (1998).