|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
March 31, 2000
Mr. Alan J. Bojorquez
Dear Mr. Bojorquez:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 133742.
The City of Georgetown (the "city"), which you represent, received a request for a copy of a 1993 management audit of the city's police department by Resource Management Associates. You have provided the requestor the first thirteen pages of the audit. You claim that the remaining requested information is excepted from disclosure under sections 552.107 and 552.111 of the Government Code. We have considered the exceptions you claim and reviewed the submitted information.
The Seventy-sixth Legislature amended section 552.022 of the Public Information Act to provide that certain categories of information are public information and are not excepted from required disclosure under Chapter 552 unless expressly made confidential under other law. Gov't Code § 552.022(a). Section 552.022(a)(1) provides that a completed report, audit, evaluation, or investigation made of, for, or by a governmental body, except as provided by Section 552.108, is public information.(1) Sections 552.111 and 552.107(1) are discretionary exceptions under the Public Information Act and are not other law that makes the requested information confidential under section 552.022. Further, you assert that the entire audit was protected under a court order and is, therefore, excepted from disclosure under section 552.107(2). However, we note that section 552.022(b) provides that a court may not order a governmental body to withhold from public inspection any category of information described by subsection (a) unless the category of information is expressly made confidential under other law. Gov't Code § 552.022(b). Because the city has not demonstrated that the audit is confidential by law, we conclude that the audit is public information and must be released pursuant to section 552.022(a)(1).
This letter ruling is limited to the particular records at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records or any other circumstances.
This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the governmental body and of the requestor. For example, governmental bodies are prohibited from asking the attorney general to reconsider this ruling. Gov't Code § 552.301(f). If the governmental body wants to challenge this ruling, the governmental body must appeal by filing suit in Travis County within 30 calendar days. Id. § 552.324(b). In order to get the full benefit of such an appeal, the governmental body must file suit within 10 calendar days. Id. § 552.353(b)(3), (c). If the governmental body does not appeal this ruling and the governmental body does not comply with it, then both the requestor and the attorney general have the right to file suit against the governmental body to enforce this ruling. Id. § 552.321(a).
If this ruling requires the governmental body to release all or part of the requested information, the governmental body is responsible for taking the next step. Based on the statute, the attorney general expects that, within 10 calendar days of this ruling, the governmental body will do one of the following three things: 1) release the public records; 2) notify the requestor of the exact day, time, and place that copies of the records will be provided or that the records can be inspected; or 3) notify the requestor of the governmental body's intent to challenge this letter ruling in court. If the governmental body fails to do one of these three things within 10 calendar days of this ruling, then the requestor should report that failure to the attorney general's Open Government Hotline, toll free, at 877/673-6839. The requestor may also file a complaint with the district or county attorney. Id. § 552.3215(e).
If this ruling requires or permits the governmental body to withhold all or some of the requested information, the requestor can appeal that decision by suing the governmental body. Id. § 552.321(a); Texas Department of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408, 411 (Tex. App.-Austin 1992, no writ).
If the governmental body, the requestor, or any other person has questions or comments about this ruling, they may contact our office. Although there is no statutory deadline for contacting us, the attorney general prefers to receive any comments within 10 calendar days of the date of this ruling.
Ref: ID# 133742
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Mr. Mark Bruce
1. You have not asserted that the audit is protected by section 552.108.
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