Q&A: Official resignation letter


From the Fort Wayne Jour­nal Gazette:

Q: I asked the Pence administration for a resignation letter of a staff member, but they refused to give it to me. I have gotten them in the past, but they gave me this citation: [I.C. 5-14-3-4(b)(8)].  Is this new or different?

A: The language cited has been part of the law for decades. Personnel files, where the resignation letter would be filed, generally are confidential at the discretion of the agency.

But the administration’s comment in its response that you sent me about being “required to adhere” to the statute implies their hands are tied.

That’s not true because they have the discretion to open the entire personnel file to you, and they don’t need the ex-employee’s permission.

That apparently was a policy choice in the past.

Bottom line: they don’t have to make it available under the law, but there’s nothing to prevent them from making it available because it’s only confidential at their discretion.

So ask why they won’t release it. What’s the reason for denial other than that they can?

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.