In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION


Edmund M. Diorio,




against Docket #FIC 86-87


Town Manager of Watertown,


Respondent May 14, 1986


The above captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 17, 1986 at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.


After consideration of the entire record the following facts are found:


1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.


2. On or about March 7, 1986 an employee of the complainant made an oral request of the respondent to inspect or copy the attendance records of Mr. Robert Kontout, a building inspector for the respondent town.


3. From denial of that request, the complainant appealed to the Commission by letter of complaint filed on March 31, 1986.


4. The respondent claims that the requested records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(2), G.S., as a personnel file. The respondent further claims that the complainant's client wanted to use the information for what he perceived as an "improper purpose" and the information is therefore exempt from disclosure.


5. It is found that the records in question indicate how many vacation, sick leave and personal leave days each town employee has taken.


Docket #FIC 86-87 Page 2


6. It is found that the records in question constitute part of a personnel file within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.


7. It is found, however, that the public has a legitimate interest in learning whether any public employee is engaged in vacation, personal leave, or sick leave abuse.


8. It is further found that the public has a legitimate interest in knowing how much time public employees are spending away from their jobs.


9. It is found that no provision of the Freedom of Information Act preconditions disclosure of a public record on the motive of the person making the request.


10. It is therefore concluded that disclosure of the requested attendance records would not constitute an invasion of personal privacy within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.


11. It is further concluded that the respondent violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to disclose the requested records to the complainant.


The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above captioned complaint:


1. The respondent shall forthwith provide the complainant with a copy of the attendance records more fully described in paragraph 2 of the findings above.


2. In complying with paragraph 1 of this order, the respondent may delete or otherwise mask the nature or location of the vacation, personal matter, or illness which occasioned the use of any such vacations or leaves.


Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of May 14, 1986.


Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission