Arizona State Employee Discipline Records to Become Public Records

House Bill 2159, which was approved by the Arizona Senate and House of Representatives this week will make state employee disciplinary records open to the public. Currently, the names, positions, and salaries of state employees are public records; however, this new bill would create an extra level of transparency.

The bill was created as part of an effort to reform Child Protective Services, which is a state agency. Sadly, three Arizona children died last year while being monitored by Child Protective Services. House Bill 2159 is part of an effort to bring more accountability and transparency to actions of state employees.

House Bill 2159 was part of a series of bills, such as House Bill 2454, which will make CPS records public in cases where there is a death or nearly fatal injury without the need for a court order, as is the current procedure. Additionally, this group of bills is set make other records public, such as proceedings from CPS cases.

The hope is that this series of legislation will shed light into any problems with the system, and hopefully prevent further tragedies. To account for certain privacy concerns, the bill was amended to require all employee phone numbers and addresses to remain private information.

In addition helping the CPS system, this new bill will shed light on the activities of all state employees, not just CPS workers. Of course, the other side of the argument is that making disciplinary records public could create an uncomfortable environment for state employees, one in which they are constantly walking on eggshells for fear that any wrong move could become public knowledge. It’s definitely an interesting dilemma, because on one side, you have the privacy of the state workers, yet on the other side, you have the rights of the tax paying public. After all, your taxes pay their salaries, so don’t you have a right to know what inappropriate activities are occurring on your dime? What are your thoughts?

While there are advocates on both sides of the debate, for now, it looks like the rights of the public won. This series of legislation is expected to be signed into law next week.

Make sure to check with the Free Public Records Directory in the future to find out where these state employee disciplinary records can be found.

3 thoughts on “Arizona State Employee Discipline Records to Become Public Records

  1. slayer

    The bill was changed to include all employees responses to any disciplinary actions; this will point out when the agencies made mistakes and wrongfully disciplined employees. It would show the employees side of the events and and that discipline imposed was improper and changed within their file. It will also show managers and supervisors who have engaged in horriffic acts, but instead of being disciplined the manager or supervisor is just shifted to another worksite location or promoted.

    Reply
  2. KingCast

    Great blog. Caught your link from the FOI Advocate.

    Speaking of dirty government employees……

    Here’s an interesting case that is about to be filed in New Hampshire — the Live Free or Die State, ironically.

    http://christopher-king.blogspot.com/2008/07/missouri-ag-clashes-with-nh-ag-ayotte.html

    03 July 2008

    Florida, Wisconsin, Missouri AGs and Tennessee counsel clash with NH AG Ayotte, NH State House on nature of public emails.

    You better believe it. And you better believe this will be in the record when I sue Martha McLeod over her emails relating to tabled HB 1428 to honor “rogue, classic bully cop hiding behind his badge” Norman Bruce McKay. Here’s the draft lawsuit. Senator Letourneau had the good sense to bow out and produce his emails; read the State policy in the thumbnails claiming only emails to committees are public. Wrong answer guys……

    Reply
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