Public Access Opinion 17-010

Disclosure of Contractor’s Employees’ Names on Payroll Records

Freedom of Information Act - FOIA
Case: Public Access Opinion 17-010
Date: Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The City of Rockford (City) violated FOIA by improperly redacting employees’ names from certified payroll records when disclosing them in response to a FOIA request. On May 22, 2017, an individual submitted a request for copies of certified payroll records for a specific City project by a specific City contractor. The City promptly responded by stating the FOIA request was approved in its entirety and by providing copies of the certified payroll records, but the City redacted the contractor’s employees’ names, addresses, social security numbers, and driver’s license numbers from the records. Driver’s license numbers are exempt as “private information” under Section 7(1)(b) of FOIA, and Section 2.10 of FOIA permits a public body to redact contractor’s employees’ addresses, telephone numbers, and social security numbers from certified payroll records submitted to a public body under the Prevailing Wage Act. However, the City erred when it redacted the employees’ names, which are not exempt from disclosure. Moreover, the City had stated the FOIA request was approved in its entirety and it did not accurately state that it had partially denied the FOIA request (by making redactions) nor explain why redactions were made. The PAC ordered the City to immediately disclose the contractor’s employees’ names contained within the requested certified payroll records.

This opinion is binding only to the parties involved and may be appealed pursuant to State law.