On February 12, 2019, MML staff testified in opposition to HB 413 before the House Heath and Government Operations Committee. The bill, sponsored by Delegate Barron, establishes that a record related to a formal complaint of job-related misconduct made against a public employee, including an investigation record, a hearing record, or disciplinary decision, is not a personnel record and thus not subject to mandatory denial of inspection under Maryland’s Public Information Act (PIA).
While the Maryland Public Information Act establishes that all persons are entitled to have access to information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees, the Maryland legislature and courts have been wise to exempt sensitive personnel files for fear of abuse. Local government employees are subject to numerous complaints, sometimes unfounded, and access to such information could lead to abuse by disgruntled citizens.
The sponsor did propose an amendment to limit the scope of the bill to law enforcement officials. With that amendment, MML will defer the lead to the Maryland Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs’ Association.
If you have any questions, please contact Justin Fiore at firstname.lastname@example.org or (410) 295-9100.