FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
the Matter of a Complaint by
Sylvia Guberman and
Director of Human Resources,
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 1,
1999, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared, stipulated
to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the
After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found
and conclusions of law are reached:
The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of §1-200(1),
G.S. [formerly §1-18a(1),
2. By letter dated
and filed with the Commission on September 7, 1999, the complainants filed
this complaint on behalf of Ronald Langdon, alleging that the respondent
violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with
the requested described in paragraph 3, below.
It is found that, by letter dated August 31, 1999, Mr. Langdon asked
that the respondent forward to him records showing "what benefits such as
salary, medical coverage, vacation time, death policy, and so forth...Michael
Danko is receiving as a retired employee…[p]lease supply…information
concerning any and all benefits that he will be receiving."
It is found that, by letter dated September 3, 1999, the respondent
acknowledged receipt of the request described in paragraph 3, above, and asked
that Mr. Langdon specify the documents sought so that the respondent might
5. Section 1-210(a), G.S.
[formerly §1-19(a), G.S.], provides in relevant part that:
otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained
or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required
by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every
person shall have the right to inspect such records promptly during regular
office or business hours . . . .
It is found that, at the time of the request described in paragraph 3,
above, records responsive to such request were not maintained or kept on file
by the respondent within the meaning of §1-210(a), G.S. [formerly §1-19(a),
It is also found that the requested record did not exist until
September 10, 1999, and that the respondent presented such record as evidence
during the hearing in this matter.
It is further found that the Commission has no authority to order
public agencies to respond to questions.
Based upon the facts and circumstances of this case, it is concluded
that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act, as alleged in the complaint.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The complaint is hereby
The Commission urges the parties to attempt communication with respect
to future freedom of information disputes, since such disputes often can be
resolved swiftly and amicably without the need to expend the limited state
resources necessary to adjudicate cases.
Additionally, with respect to complaints which are filed, the
Commission encourages the parties to use the Commission’s ombudsman process.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of
Information Commission at its regular meeting of
March 8, 2000.
Melanie R. Balfour
Acting Clerk of
PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S., THE
FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS,
PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
Sylvia Guberman and United Democratic
Director of Human Resources, Town of
c/o Atty. Dean R. Singewald, II
Berchem, Moses & Devlin, PC
75 Broad Street
Melanie R. Balfour
Acting Clerk of