UNC School of Government’s New Online Database of Social Services Records Confidentiality Laws

Aimee Wall and the UNC School of Government announced the publication of Ms. Wall’s new book, Disclosing Protective Services Information: A Guide for North Carolina Social Services Agencies. In her book, Ms. Wall analyzes “many of the key federal and state confidentiality laws that apply to disclosure of protective services information by county departments of social…

Retention of Job Applications

How long should job applications, resumes, letters of reference, and other records submitted by applicants for vacant positions, not to mention unsolicited applications and resumes, be retained? Though job applications would seemingly lose value after the hiring decision, these records are good to have if the hiring process is restarted, or, in a worst case…

How Anonymous are Anonymous Tips?

Frayda Bluestein of the UNC School of Government published a useful blog post on comments, e-mails, and messages received from citizens and whether or not they may be confidential. Like many questions about confidentiality and public records, the short answer is “it depends.” But Frayda does a great job here of sorting that out.  

Happy Sunshine Week!

Governor McCrory has declared the week of March 16-22 as Sunshine Week, an entire week dedicated to openness and transparency in government.  As government officials and employees, we do not own the records in our offices.  The people are the owners, and we are the custodians.  This means that the people have the right to…

FAQ: Confidentiality and Privilege Licenses

I recently received an excellent question from a municipality that I thought I’d share with you all: “I have a public records request for privilege license information – specifically for the business name and what they pay for the privilege license. I believe this is all public information. Am I correct?” If you have been…

FAQ: Are they personnel?

From time to time, we receive questions about the confidentiality (or lack thereof) of records concerning persons who definitely work for a county or municipality but don’t follow the traditional definition of personnel.  These can be delicate situations because, on the one hand, no one wants to disclose private personnel information, but, on the other hand,…

FAQ: Letters of Dismissal

Two years ago, Frayda Bluestein from the UNC School of Government wrote  this helpful blog post, which explains what information and records pertaining to employment actions are or are not open to the public.  Frayda wrote this in order to clarify the 2010 North Carolina legislative changes to the confidentiality of public employees’ personnel files.  For…

Test Yourself: How NOT to Redact a PDF

(Update: See the answers in this blog post) Can you identify the authors of the four “redacted” documents below? Do you understand how to effectively redact information from a PDF? Before you say yes, take a look at these PDFs and see which redactions you can “crack”. With some technical savvy, a careful reviewer should be…