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August 17, 2000

Mr. C.J. Brandt, Jr.
General Counsel
Department of Information Resources
P. O. Box 13564
Austin, Texas 78711-3564

OR2000-3143

Dear Mr. Brandt:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 138515.

The Department of Information Resources (the "department") received a request for the electronic copies of all bids and proposals submitted to the department for the requisition "'DIR-00-16019-'Framework for an Electronic Government Business Portal and Payment System for the State of Texas' dated December 1, 1999." Although you do not raise an exception to disclosure on behalf of the department, you advise this office that the requested information may involve the proprietary or property interests of the involved vendors and, therefore, the department is asking this office for a decision under section 552.305(d) of the Government Code. See Open Records Decision No. 542 (1990) (determining that statutory predecessor to Gov't Code 552.305 permits governmental body to rely on interested third party to raise and explain applicability of exceptions to the Public Information Act in certain circumstances). We note that you have sent a copy of your brief to each vendor. Further, we note that you have notified the vendors of the request in accordance with the requirements in section 552.305(d). See Gov't Code 552.305(d) (providing that governmental body make a good faith attempt to notify the interested party about the request and include a statement, in the form prescribed by the attorney general, that the party is entitled to submit briefing to the attorney general).(1)

As of the date of this letter, none of the vendors have submitted to this office their reasons explaining why the requested information should not be released. Therefore, we have no basis to conclude that the responsive information is excepted from disclosure. See Gov't Code 552.110(b) (to prevent disclosure of commercial or financial information, party must show by specific factual or evidentiary material, not conclusory or generalized allegations, that it actually faces competition and that substantial competitive injury would likely result from disclosure); Open Records Decision Nos. 552 at 5 (1990) (party must establish prima facie case that information is trade secret), 542 at 3 (1990). Thus, the department must release the submitted information to the requestor.

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.

Sincerely,

Noelle C. Letteri
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

NCL/pr

Ref: ID# 138515

Encl. Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Wayne McDilda
P. O. Box 93038
Austin, Texas 78709-3038
(w/o enclosures)

Mr. Chris E. Politte
Andersen Consulting, L.L.P.
1501 South MoPac, Suite 300
Austin, Texas 78746
(w/o enclosures)

Mr. Alden Schiller
Deloitte Consulting
400 W. 15th Street, Suite 1700
Austin, Texas 78701
(w/o enclosures)

Mr. Clyde T. Poole
Information Technology Partners
8303 North MoPac
Austin, Texas 78759
(w/o enclosures)

Mr. Clint Goodin
IBM
400 West 15th Street, Suite 1200
Austin, Texas 78701
(w/o enclosures)

Mr. Daniel D. Houlihan
National Information Consortium
12 Corporate Woods
10975 Benson Street, Suite 390
Overland Park, Kansas 66210
(w/o enclosures)


 

Footnotes

1. The prescribed form can be found in the appendix of the 2000 Public Information Handbook which can also be found on the internet at www.oag.state.tx.us.
 

POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US
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