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August 30, 2000

Ms. Belinda R. Perkins
Assistant General Counsel
Teacher Retirement System of Texas
1000 Red River Street
Austin, Texas 78701-2698

OR2000-3363

Dear Ms. Perkins:

You have asked whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 138538.

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas ("TRS") received a request for "the correspondence between the East Central Independent School District pertaining to the retirement of the superintendent of schools and [TRS] dating back to January 2000." You contend that the requested information is excepted from required public disclosure pursuant to section 552.101 of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you raised and reviewed the submitted information.(1)

Section 552.101 of the Government Code excepts from disclosure "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." This section encompasses information protected by other statutes. Section 825.507 of the Government Code provides in pertinent part:

(a) Information contained in records that are in the custody of the retirement system concerning an individual member, retiree, annuitant, beneficiary, or alternate payee is confidential under Section 552.101, and may not be disclosed in a form identifiable with a specific individual unless:

  • the information is disclosed to:

    • the individual or the individual's attorney, guardian, executor, administrator, conservator, or other person who the executive director determines is acting in the interest of the individual or the individual's estate;

    • a spouse or former spouse of the individual if the executive director determines that the information is relevant to the spouse's or former spouse's interest in member accounts, benefits, or other amounts payable by the retirement system;

    • a governmental official or employee if the executive director determines that disclosure of the information requested is reasonably necessary to the performance of the duties of the official or employee; or

    • a person authorized by the individual in writing to receive the information; or

  • the information is disclosed pursuant to subpoena and the executive director determines that the individual will have a reasonable opportunity to contest the subpoena.
  • After careful review, we find that the submitted information falls within the scope of section 825.507(a). Further, none of the exceptions to disclosure under section 825.507(a) appear to apply in this instance. Therefore, we conclude that you must withhold the submitted information under section 552.101 of the Government Code in conjunction with section 825.507(a).

    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,

    Amanda Crawford
    Assistant Attorney General
    Open Records Division

    AEC/er

    Ref.: ID# 138538

    Encl. Submitted documents

    cc: Mr. Robert Delgado
    9980 S. Foster Road
    San Antonio, Texas 78223
    (w/o enclosures)


     

    Footnotes

    1. You state that the information submitted includes documents that may not be responsive to this request. However, a governmental body must make a good faith effort to relate a request to information held by it. Open Records Decision No. 561 at 8-9 (1990), 87 (1975). After reviewing the documents submitted, we conclude that they are responsive to the instant request. As such, this ruling addresses all of the information submitted by TRS.
     

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