Pursuant to our rights under the California Public Records Act (Government Code Section 6250 et seq.) We are requesting the following:
- The personnel file and employment records for former City of Oakland employee Thomas A. Espinosa, including but not limited to his job application, dates of employment, titles/positions held, and salary/wages/bonuses/overtime earned.
- Any and all complaints, investigations or reviews made about/into Mr. Espinosa and the corresponding outcomes, including but not limited to any discipline, private reprovals, assignment changes, coordinated retirement or termination.
We understand that according to Government Code § 6254(c)), some information, such as social security numbers and medical records, may be withheld if disclosure “would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” However, we believe that everything outside of the select information that meets that very high threshold would fall within identifiable public records and there exists no express provision of law exempting such records from disclosure.
For instance, in 2007, the California Supreme Court ruled that salaries (and other cash compensation, such as bonuses and overtime pay) of specific, named public employees, must be disclosed in response to a public records act request (International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 21, AFL-CIO v. Superior Court, 42 Cal. 4th 319 (2007)).
The California courts also have held that “the public is entitled to information about the complaint, the discipline, and the ‘information upon which it was based’” in instances of alleged public employee or public official misconduct “where the charges are found true, or discipline is imposed… even where the sanction is a private reproval.” (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees v. Regents of the University of California, 80 Cal. App. 3d 913, 918 (1978) (“AFSCME”). Accord, Bakersfield City School Dist. v. Superior Court, 118 Cal. App. 4th 1041, 1044, 1046 (2004) (“Bakersfield”)).
Furthermore, the courts have found that even in cases where investigations or reviews do not lead to formal discipline, “where there is reasonable cause to believe the complaint to be well founded, the right of public access to related public records exists.”(Id.).
Accordingly, pursuant to Government Code section 6253(b), we ask that you make the requested records “promptly available for inspection.”
If a portion of the information we have requested is exempt from disclosure by express provisions of law, Prop 59 requires that all exemptions be “narrowly construed” and Government Code section 6253(a) additionally requires segregation and redaction of that material in order that the remainder of the information may be released.
Government Code section 6253(c) further requires a determination and notification to us of “the reasons therefor” no later than ten days from your receipt of this request. Government Code section 6253(d) prohibits the use of the ten-day period, or any provision of the Public Records Act, “to permit an agency to obstruct the inspection or copying of public records.”
If some of the records become available before others please release those as they are found, as opposed to waiting for the entire search to be completed.