N.C. Bill Would Open Evaluation Records

A legislative proposal that would grant citizens access to performance evaluations and other details about government employees in North Carolina has pitted the public’s right to know against worker privacy.

At an open government conference Thursday, a city of Charlotte official blasted the proposal, saying it was “a complete invasion” of privacy.

“I don’t want everyone in Charlotte to know I had a bad year,” said Hope Root, a city attorney.

If approved, Senate Bill 344 would require government agencies to allow the public to obtain their work performance records, including evaluations. The bill would also force local and state government to disclose the reasons employees are demoted, suspended or transferred.

The information is now kept secret under N.C. law.

Republicans who are sponsoring the bill say increasing public access to the records will “strengthen confidence in government.”

The proposal comes as state lawmakers debate another bill that would make access to public meetings and records a constitutional right in North Carolina.

Last year Gov. Bev Perdue signed into law changes that make available more information about government workers, including termination letters and the date and type of each demotion. The law permits – but does not require – officials to explain suspensions and demotions.

At Thursday’s Sunshine Day conference, sponsored by the North Carolina Open Government Coalition, journalists, lawyers and others said the public often remains in the dark about why government employees are hired, suspended, demoted or transferred.

Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/03/18/2150110/proposal-pits-right-to-know-versus.html#ixzz1GybaBf57


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