Tons of news articles recently regarding what is or isn’t public record from deleted emails to letters balled up and thrown in the trash from the Easley Administration. For clarity’s sake, let’s take a look at what the General Statutes have to say:
§ 132?1. "Public records" defined.
(a) "Public record" or "public
records" shall mean all documents, papers, letters, maps, books,
photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data?processing
records, artifacts, or other documentary material, regardless of physical form
or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance in connection
with the transaction of public business by any agency of North Carolina
government or its subdivisions. Agency of North Carolina government or its
subdivisions shall mean and include every public office, public officer or
official (State or local, elected or appointed), institution, board,
commission, bureau, council, department, authority or other unit of government
of the State or of any county, unit, special district or other political
subdivision of government.
Also of note:
§ 132?3. Destruction of records regulated.
(a) Prohibition. – No public official may destroy,
sell, loan, or otherwise dispose of any public record, except in accordance
with G.S. 121?5 and G.S. 130A?99, without the consent of the
Department of Cultural Resources. Whoever unlawfully removes a public record
from the office where it is usually kept, or alters, defaces, mutilates or
destroys it shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor and upon conviction only
fined not less than ten dollars ($10.00) nor more than five hundred dollars