Chapter 5: Personnel05:03:04 Release of Public Records Information
Related Policies and Guidelines
TBR Policy 1.12.01.00 Records Retention and Disposal of Records (Formerly G-070)
TBR Policy 5.01.00.10 Personnel Records
NeSCC Policy 05:03:02 Release of Information about Students
- The purpose of this policy is to define "public records" and establish procedures for access and release of records under Tennessee’s Open Records Law.
- Under the provisions of TCA 10-7-503, public records, including personnel records, may be inspected, extracted, or copied by any citizen of Tennessee during normal business hours in accordance with reasonable rules of the office having custody of such records.
Public record(s) or state record(s), according to TCA 10-7-301, means all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, microfilms, electronic data processing files and output, films, sound recordings, or other material regardless of physical form or characteristics made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any governmental agency.
- Records covered under an attorney-client relationship and all student records and materials covered under the Buckley Amendment are exempt from this policy. Release of information concerning students is covered by NeSCC Policy 05:03:02.
- TCA 10-7-504(f)(1) treats as confidential the following information:
- Home telephone and personal cell phone numbers;
- Bank account information;
- Social security number;
- Driver license information except where driving or operating a vehicle is part of the employee’s job description or job duties or incidental to the performance of their job;
- Residential information, including the street address, city, state, and zip code for any state employee; and
- The same information of immediate family members or household members.
- Confidential information must be redacted wherever possible, but access to otherwise public information shall not be limited or denied because a record contains confidential information. Further, this information is available to law enforcement agencies, courts, or other governmental agencies performing official functions.
- TCA 10-7-504(a)(26) treats as confidential the following information:
- Job performance evaluations, including but not limited to job performance evaluations completed by supervisors, communications concerning job performance evaluations, self-evaluations of job performance prepared by employees, job performance evaluation scores, drafts, notes, memoranda, and all other records relating to job performance evaluations.
- This does not include evaluations completed by students or other such informal surveys.
Custodians of Public Records
- Personnel Records: For purposes of information access, the Director of Human Resources is appointed custodian of personnel records. Requests for access to personnel records shall be made to the Director of Human Resources in accordance with procedures established in this policy.
- Other Public Records: The president or the appropriate vice president is designated custodian of other public records under their custody. Requests for access to non-personnel records covered under this policy shall be made to the Director of Community Relations in accordance with the process established in this policy.
- Personnel Records: Requests for access to personnel records, including automated personnel files, shall be communicated in writing to the Director of Human Resources, stating which records are desired for review. An appointment will be scheduled, and the records review will occur in the presence of Human Resources staff. If a third party requests an employee's records, an attempt will be made to notify the employee concerned before granting access or release of the records. No items shall be entered or removed from personnel records in connection with the information search. Copies requested will be marked “copy” and provided to the individual making the request, usually within two weeks upon payment of $1 per copy. Payment shall be made to the Business Office, and the Human Resources staff shall obtain a copy of the receipt before the release of the records.
- Other Written Records: Requests for access to other non-personnel, written documents shall be communicated in writing to the Director of Community Relations stating specifically which documents are desired for review. An appointment will be scheduled with the vice president or designee having custody of the document. The document review will occur in the presence of the vice president or designee. Copies requested will be marked "copy" and provided to the individual making the request, usually within two weeks upon payment of $1 per copy. Payment shall be made to the Business Office, and a copy of the receipt shall be obtained by the vice president or designated staff member before the release of the records.
- Other Record Materials: Requests for access to non-personnel records maintained in a physical form other than written copy shall be communicated in writing to the Director of Community Relations stating specifically which items are desired for review. An appointment will be scheduled with the vice president or designee having custody of the item. The item review will occur in the presence of the vice president or designee. Requests for item duplication or information transfer to written copy will be honored if it is within the College's capability to produce. The cost of the requested item and estimated production time will be quoted when the specific request is made. The Vice President for Finance and Information Technology shall determine the cost(s) involved. Payment shall be made to the Business Office, and the vice president or designee shall obtain a copy of the receipt before the release of items concerned.
Inspection of Public Records
- Persons requesting to inspect records must show identification of Tennessee citizenship.
- Requests to inspect records must be for a specific record. Nothing in this policy shall require the creation of any record or the maintenance of any record for any period of time in excess of any retention period established by the institution, the Board, or State or Federal law.
- Custody of the record is not to be relinquished. The person requesting to inspect the record must do so in the presence of the record's custodian or an appropriate designee. If the record is unavailable (e.g., filed in the archives, being used for official business, etc.), then the person requesting to inspect the record shall be advised when to return to inspect the record. All efforts will be made to make the record(s) available within a reasonable period of time.
- The TBR Office of Legal Counsel and the president of Northeast State Community College should always be advised when records are requested to be inspected so that those offices may assist in answering any questions and coordinate the release of any additional information to ensure understanding of the record.
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Revision History: June 2009; March 2013; March 2014; July 2015; Edited Feb. 2020; Revised April 2021