OKC officials to seek AG opinion on release of birth dates

Oklahoma City officials want it in writing.

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson earlier this week said the city should release the birth date of an employee placed on administrative leave during an investigation.

Edmondson's comments came during an open government workshop in Tecumseh on Monday.

The Oklahoman reported Wednesday that two Oklahoma City Council members have asked City Manager Jim Couch to seek an official written opinion from Edmondson's office on the DOB issue.

City Councilman Gary Marrs told the newspaper he is worried the city could be sued if it releases the birth date.

But public bodies and public officials "providing access to records as allowed under the Oklahoma Open Records Act" cannot be held civilly liable for damages. (OKLA. STAT. tit. 51, § 24A.17(D))

Couch's staff will draft the question and ask a state legislator to submit it to the Attorney General's Office. Couch said the question might also ask for an opinion on whether the city must release the names of employees placed on administrative leave.

OKC officials have refused to identify a second employee placed on administrative leave while the management of a federal grant is investigated. Officials had said the first employee was suspended and identified him. Then they backtracked, saying he was placed on administrative leave and that his name should not have been released to reporters, The Oklahoman reported.

Joey Senat, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
OSU School of Journalism

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the commentators and do not necessarily represent the position of FOI Oklahoma Inc., its staff, or its board of directors. Differing interpretations of open government law and policy are welcome.