Friday, December 4, 2015

A Strange Answer To A Public Information Request

To say that replies to public information requests from the City of Greensboro have been slow in recent months would be an understatement. In the weeks lending up to the election PIRT responses ground to a halt. Now the replies have gotten just plain weird.

For example: take this reply I just got today:

"Dear Mr. Jones,

Thank you for your public records request (PIRT 4944) regarding “all communications concerning Bessemer Curb Market and the address 932 East Bessemer Avenue from January 1, 2014 until August 13, 2015.”

The City has compiled the response to your request, however, due to the size of the file, we are unable to upload the records to our PIRT webpage, or burn them to a disk.  As an alternative, I have uploaded the requested information to the Public Affairs folder on our FTP server, where it will be available for you to download until midnight tonight.  I have attached the instructions on how to download this information, but please let me know if you have any difficulties.

Please note that seven emails have been excluded from the response pursuant to NCGS 160A – 168.  19 emails were protected pursuant to NCGS 160A – 208.1.  68 emails have been excluded because they either did not include the transaction of any City business, and therefore did not meet the definition of a public record, or they were duplicative.  Lastly, 152 emails were excluded because they were not responsive to your request.

I hope this information is helpful to you.


Katherine Carter, Public Records Administrator
Communications and Marketing Department - 336-373-3282
City of Greensboro
PO Box 3136, Greensboro, NC 27402-3136

I'm downloading the files via FTP while I write this post but what I find most interesting is that even after 239 246 e-mails were withheld there were still so many e-mails about Bessemer Curb Market that they wouldn't fit on a disc.

I'm also curious as to what the following state regulations have to do with Bessemer Curb Market:

(a)        Disclosure Prohibited. - Notwithstanding Chapter 132 of the General Statutes or any other law regarding access to public records, local tax records that contain information about a taxpayer's income or receipts are not public records. A current or former officer, employee, or agent of a city who in the course of service to or employment by the city has access to information about the amount of a taxpayer's income or receipts may not disclose the information to any other person unless the disclosure is made for one of the following purposes:
(1)        To comply with a court order or a law.
(2)        Review by the Attorney General or a representative of the Attorney General.
(3)        To sort, process, or deliver tax information on behalf of the city, as necessary to administer a tax.
(4)        To include on a property tax receipt the amount of property taxes due and the amount of property taxes deferred on a residence classified under G.S. 105-277.1B, the property tax homestead circuit breaker."


(a)        Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 132-6 or any other general law or local act concerning access to public records, personnel files of employees, former employees, or applicants for employment maintained by a city are subject to inspection and may be disclosed only as provided by this section. For purposes of this section, an employee's personnel file consists of any information in any form gathered by the city with respect to that employee and, by way of illustration but not limitation, relating to his application, selection or nonselection, performance, promotions, demotions, transfers, suspension and other disciplinary actions, evaluation forms, leave, salary, and termination of employment. As used in this section, "employee" includes former employees of the city....

Have there perhaps been some breaking of the rules involving Bessemer Curb Market and City of Greensboro employees that neither the owners of Bessemer Curb Market nor the citizens of Greensboro were made aware of? 

I donno, I'm still downloading files from the city servers.