Seen Here First: State Board Eyes FOIL Blindspot

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A state board wants more attention on a facet of the freedom of information law that protects cops, firefighters and correction officers from the kind of public scrutiny to which teachers–whose performance evaluations have been given to the press–are now routinely subjected.

City Limits first reported on the issue in 2011:

Public Officers Law section 87 bars the release of any records that “are specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal statute.” And, indeed, Civil Rights Law section 50-a says that “All personnel records, used to evaluate performance toward continued employment or promotion” for police officers, corrections officers, firefighters and firefighter/paramedics and parole officers “shall be considered confidential and not subject to inspection or review without the express written consent of such police officer, firefighter, firefighter/paramedic, correction officer or peace officer within the division of parole except as may be mandated by lawful court order.”

According to today's Albany Times-Union, “the state Committee on Open Government voted Monday to draw the Legislature's attention” to the quirk in the law.'

“The employees who have the most power over our lives, they're the least accountable,” said the committee's executive director, Robert Freeman.

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