Idaho Freedom Foundation Executive Director Wayne Hoffman today criticized Coeur d’Alene city officials for refusing to disclose the full identities of its employees. IFF is a non-profit, non-partisan group which is in the process of developing a government transparency website. On Monday, IFF requested the city provide the names, titles, departments and rates of pay for each city employee. City Human Resources Director Pam MacDonald responded on Tuesday with a list of employees, but the first names of the employees were withheld.
“First names will not be provided because that would indicate gender. This is exempt from disclosure under Idaho Code 9-340C(1),” MacDonald wrote in an email to IFF after the organization requested the complete data.
That statute says employee names are a matter of public record. The law also says a public employee or applicant’s gender is exempt from disclosure under the public records law. So far, the city of Coeur d’Alene is the only entity in the state to use gender identification as a means to hide public information.
“Using the city’s logic, employees named Pat or Shannon should have their names fully disclosed, because those names are gender neutral. The city’s response to our public records request is absurd, shallow and indefensible. They’re just looking for ways to keep the public from quickly being able to figure out who makes what,” Hoffman said. “The city’s action also means all emails, correspondence, reports and other documents generated by the city can have employee names removed."
Hoffman noted that on Wednesday, IFF asked for salary information from the city of Twin Falls and received a response from the city -- complete with first and last names of all employees -- the same day.
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