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Outing Public Employees

By Josh Feit June 3, 2009

PubliCola has learned that Seattle Public Utilities received a public disclosure request for the names of members of the departments' LGBT group. The following letter was sent to the members notifying them that SPU would have to honor the request.  
City of Seattle
Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor

Seattle Public Utilities
Ray Hoffman, Director

May 6, 2009

Dear Sir or Madam,

Re: PDR #1579 – LGBTQ&F Membership

This letter is to inform you that Philip Irvin has made a public records request for copies of records related to City of Seattle Affinity groups, in particular SPU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Friends (LGBTQ&F) group including:

Your name is a part of one or more of the requested records.

Washington State's Public Records Act requires that the City promptly release records upon request unless the records are specifically exempted from disclosure. In compliance with our obligations under the law, the City intends to release requested disclosable records in response to this and any other future requests for the same records.

As a person affected by the request, however, you have the legal right under RCW 42.56.540 to bring a legal action to enjoin the release of any records you believe may not be subject to disclosure. The City will make the requested records available to Phillip Irvin at the close of business on May 21, 2009, unless prior to that time you have obtained and the City has been served with a court injunction prohibiting disclosure.

If you have any questions, please contact me at (206) 733-9836.

Sincerely,

David M. Whiting
Assistant Public Disclosure Offic

We've heard that the employees are going to file an injunction challenging the release of the names.

Philip Irvin, who made the request, offered an explanation for his request on the Faith & Freedom Network website. (The Faith & Freedom Network is a social conservative lobbying group in Washington state):  
Curious to find out who was using City resources, I, a City Light employee, filed a public disclosure request seeking the names and attendees of their meeting. I was stunned when told that the gay group would be filing an injunction to block release of this information. There seems to be rank hypocrisy among the gay community. Publishing names and addresses on a website of those who oppose them by signing a petition is fair game but releasing the names of those who use city resources to promote their agenda causes them to howl. Call me a homophobe if you want to but I don't think the City should fund a secret gay employees group.
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