- Special Sections
- Public Notices
What we asked: Salaries and job descriptions for the following personnel: Katie McGee, superintendent; Terry Chestnutt, assistant superintendent of human resources; Zelphia Grissett, assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and assessment.
What the law says: “There are 10 separate state personnel statutes, including those dealing with the personnel files of municipal, county, and state employees, employees of local school boards and employees of public hospitals. All the statutes make it clear that the following information about those employees in a matter of public record: ‘name, age, date of original employment or appointment to the state service, current position, title, current salary, date and amount of most recent promotion, demotion, transfer, suspension, separation or other change in position classification, and the office or station to which the employee is currently assigned.’” N.C. General Statute 126-23.
How they did: No information was furnished to the person making the public records request. The reporter left her phone number for Terry Chestnutt to call with information.
What they said: Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Katie McGee apologized for the lack of a prompt response by her department for information that was requested.
She told a Beacon reporter last week it was the first time it had been brought to her attention.
McGee said she was in the midst of discussing the matter with assistant superintendent Terry Chestnutt and public information officer Robert Turner.
McGee said it’s an issue that needs to be “addressed or re-addressed.”
Chestnutt said he had no idea he was asked to return a phone call to a Beacon employee who had requested information. In an e-mail to the Beacon, Chestnutt said no phone number was left with him to return the phone call.
“I am adamant that all phone calls are returned and all legal requests honored as soon as possible,” Chestnutt’s e-mail stated.
He said clerical people cannot release information without permission or authorization from him.
“If they’re not certain whether it is public information, they would need my approval,” he said. “As long as it meets public records law, we’ll be happy to comply with that.”
One reason for the lapse in responding on the part of the department is the request was for personnel information, Chestnutt said.
“Personnel is very, very sensitive,” he said. “You would have to be well versed in public records.”
Schools, he said, “might be more complicated. It’s just that we’re very cautious to make sure we follow the standards of the law.”