Opinion Letter No. 10-03
October 5, 2010
Ethics Commission Opinions
Requester asked OIP whether the City Ethics Commission
should disclose two Advisory Opinions issued by the Commission in
a manner that discloses the identity of the respective employees
whose misconduct is discussed.
First, the Commission asked whether it should disclose
Advisory Opinion A in full, identifying a mid-level supervisor (Employee
A), where (1) the Commission’s recommendation of suspension
or discharge is not followed by the appointing authority; or (2)
the employee has been suspended or discharged, but the administrative
grievance period provided in HRS § 92F-14(b)(4) has not run.
OIP found that Opinion A did not present particular
circumstances or facts that would bolster the public’s interest
in disclosure so as to outweigh Employee A’s significant privacy
interest in the misconduct information. Accordingly, the Commission
should, under the UIPA’s privacy exception, redact information
that may reasonably identify Employee A before disclosing Opinion
Second, the Commission asked whether Advisory Opinion
B, involving a lower level employee (Employee B), should be withheld
in its entirety from public disclosure because the subject matter
of the opinion would allow Employee B to be identified.
OIP found that Opinion B did not present extraordinary
facts that heightened the public’s interest in disclosure,
and therefore Employee B’s identity should be withheld under
the UIPA’s privacy exception. Because it was not possible
to redact Opinion B to prevent disclosure of Employee B’s
identity, the Commission could withhold Opinion B from public disclosure
in its entirety to prevent disclosure of Employee B’s identity.