I'm not the only one Attorney Regina Tate advises her client--the Amherst Schools--to deny access to public documents.
Back in March parents with a vested interest in Special Education requested the credentials and certifications of the "interim" (going on two years now) Director of Special Education JoAnn Smith, a $99,612 salaried public employee very much in the "public eye".
Under advice of Nancy Reagan--I mean-- Attorney Regina Tate, the Amherst schools refused to comply by invoking "exception C", the privacy exemption.The petitioner appealed to the Public Records Division and received a telling response earlier this month from staff attorney Lori Sullivan:
I have received your inquiry on the status of your public records appeal. A review of the matter reveals that the Amherst Pelham School District (School District) is withholding teacher and staff credentials/certifications. Our office will have to send an administrative order to the School District to try to get them to comply with the request. Once it is drafted and reviewed by the Assistant Director, it will be mailed to both the School District and to you.
According to easily accessed public records information available online: "Specifically, any relevant degrees and certifications listed on an employee’s resume may be subject to disclosure upon request. Public employees have a diminished expectation of privacy in matters relating to their public employment and the public has a legitimate interest in knowing whether public employees possess the qualifications necessary to perform their jobs."
Seems pretty simply to me. But then, I'm not an expensive Big City lawyer.