State Records Committee Appeal Decision 2017-31
BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH
KELLY JAMES on behalf of PROLETARIAT-WATCH, Petitioner, v.
KANE COUNTY HOSPITAL SPECIAL SERVICE DISTRICT. Respondent.
DECISION AND ORDER
Case No. 17-31
By this appeal, Petitioner, Kelly James, on behalf of Proletariat-Watch, seeks access to records allegedly held by Respondents, Kane County Hospital Special Service District.
On or about June 6, 2017, Mr. James made a records request pursuant to the Government Records Access and Management Act (“GRAMA”). Mr. James requested the Kane County Hospital Chief Executive Officer’s (CEO) salary from 2014 to 2016. On or about June 13, 2017, the Respondent denied Mr. James’ request stating that the records were protected, Mr. James appealed the denial, and on July 12, 2017, the Chief Administrative Officer affirmed the denial.
Mr. James filed an appeal with the State Records Committee (“Committee”). The Committee having reviewed the arguments submitted by the parties and having heard oral argument and testimony on September 14, 2017, now issues the following Decision and Order.
STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR DECISION
1. GRAMA specifies that “all records are public unless otherwise expressly provided by statute.” Utah Code § 63G-2-201(2). Records that are not public are designated as either “private,” “protected,” or “controlled.” See, Utah Code §§ 63G-2-302, -303, -304 and -305.
2. Utah Code § 63G-2-301(2)(b) states that “the name, gender, gross compensation, job title, job description, business address, business email address, business telephone number, number of hours worked per pay period, dates of employment, and relevant education, previous employment, and similar job qualifications of a current or former employee or officer of the governmental entity...” are public records.
3. In the present case, the Respondent argued that disclosure of the records would create a competitive disadvantage, and that the records were protected and are records that may be kept protected for reasons set forth in Utah Code § 63G-2-305.
4. After hearing testimony and reviewing the parties' arguments, the Committee finds there are no provisions in Utah Code § 63G-2-305 that support the Respondent’s arguments. Accordingly, the Committee holds that records disclosing the gross compensation of the Kane County Hospital CEO are public records pursuant to Utah Code § 63G-2-301(2)(b).
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT the appeal of Petitioner, Kelly James on behalf of Proletariat-Watch, GRANTED.
RIGHT TO APPEAL
A party to a proceeding before the Committee may seek judicial review in District Court of a Committee's Order by filing a petition for review of the Committee Order as provided in Utah Code § 63G-2-404. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(14). A petition for judicial review of a Committee Order "shall be filed no later than 30 days" after the date of the Committee Order. Utah Code § 63G-2-404(1)(a). The petition for judicial review must be a complaint which is governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, and include the Committee as a necessary party and contain the required information listed in Subsection -404(2). Utah Code § 63G-2-404(1) & (2). The court shall make its decision de novo, but shall allow introduction of evidence presented to the Committee, determine all questions of fact and law without a jury, and decide the issue at the earliest practical opportunity. Utah Code § 63G-2-404(6). In order to protect its rights on appeal, a party may wish to seek advice from an attorney.
Pursuant to Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(c), if the Committee orders the governmental entity to produce a record and no appeal is filed, the government entity herein shall comply with the order of the Committee and shall: (1) Produce the record; and (2) File a notice of compliance with the Committee. If the governmental entity ordered to produce a record fails to file a notice of compliance or a notice of intent to appeal, the Committee may do either or both of the following: (1) Impose a civil penalty of up to $500 for each day of continuing noncompliance; or (2) Send written notice of the entity's noncompliance to the Governor for executive branch entities, to the Legislative Management Committee for legislative branch entities, and to the Judicial Council for judicial branch agencies’ entities. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(d)(i). In imposing a civil penalty, the Committee shall consider the gravity and circumstances of the violation, including whether the failure to comply was due to neglect or was willful or intentional. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(d)(ii).
Entered this 25th day of September 2017.
BY THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE
DAVID FLEMING, Chairperson
State Records Committee
Page Last Updated September 25, 2017 .