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Friday, March 8, 2024
Fake Minutes and Fire Secrecy: OIP Posts Three New Opinions
By News Release @ 3:06 AM :: 1797 Views :: Honolulu County, Education K-12, Ethics


News Release from OIP, Feb 21, 2024

The State Office of Information Practices (OIP) has posted three new opinions on its Opinions page at oip.hawaii.gov.

1 -- In OIP Opinion Letter No. F24-04, OIP concluded that the Honolulu Fire Chief’s privacy interest did not outweigh the public interest in disclosure of his final job performance evaluations, so the Honolulu Fire Commission could not withhold them from disclosure under the Uniform Information Practices Act, Chapter 92F, HRS (UIPA).  In contrast, however, the balancing test resulted in a different outcome regarding the preliminary evaluations completed by individual commissioners, which allowed the Commission to withhold the individual evaluations under the UIPA’s privacy exception of section 92F-13(1), HRS.

2 -- In an informal opinion also related to the fire department, OIP issued U Memo 24-04 in which the Honolulu Fire Department (FIRE-HON) denied access to fire inspection reports and other records relating to a condominium building on the basis that they were part of an ongoing investigation, and in some cases asserted that it did not maintain the records.  OIP concluded that the frustration exception did not justify FIRE-HON’s denial of access to the fire inspection reports; that the names of fire inspectors and building representatives could not be redacted from fire inspection reports based on the UIPA’s privacy exception, or any other UIPA exception; and that the remaining records were government records maintained by FIRE-HON, which had failed to meet its burden to establish that they fell within a UIPA exception and thus was not justified in withholding them

3 -- In U Memo 24-05, OIP concluded that the State Public Charter School Commission (PCSC) had followed the proper Sunshine Law procedures to go into executive session for discussions with its attorney and that minutes of this discussion were protected from disclosure under the confidentiality provision of section 92-9(b), HRS, “so long as their publication would defeat the lawful purpose of the executive meeting.”  OIP also concluded that this Sunshine Law confidentiality provision could be read in conjunction with the UIPA’s frustration exception at section 92F-13(3), HRS, which allows the withholding of minutes whose publication would frustrate the purpose of an executive session.  OIP found, however, that some portions of the minutes were so general and non-specific that disclosure would not frustrate the purpose of the executive session and concluded that this non-substantive portion must be disclosed.  OIP also found, sua sponte, that the executive session minutes did not convey a true reflection of the matters discussed at the meeting and the views of the participants and concluded that PCSC must create a new set of minutes for the executive sessions that includes omitted information, to the best of PCSC’s ability.

For the impartial and objective open government news, please read these What’s New articles archived at oip.hawaii.gov, or email OIP@hawaii.gov with your email address and a request to have new articles emailed directly to you.


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