Yesterday was a good day for those fighting for more transparency in government. An advisory opinion from the Office of the Attorney General states that provisions included in the North Carolina’s new personnel law (S.L. 2010- 169) should be applied retroactively and not just to public employees hired after October 1st. In addition, the opinion said that dismissal letters are also to be treated as public records and that agencies must make available salary and employment histories for all employees
Why is this important? Prior to passage of the new law, North Carolina was the only state in the nation that prohibited the public from obtaining a public employee’s previous salary, work history and disciplinary actions. School boards will now be able to know why teachers were let go in previous positions. hiring managers will now have access to applicant’s complete salary history and employment file. The new law gives everyone better information to make better decisions.
Kudos to Dan Kane at the News & Observer. His fine investigative series Keeping Secrets led to passage of a new law. He also shows us why the need for government transparency is greater than ever.