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AAC F A M I L Y & F R I E N D S


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AG Opinions: County library employees, evaluation records


AG OPINION NO. 2016-125 Te Attorney General determined that employees of a particular county library are “county employees” for the purposes of the Arkansas Public Em- ployee Retirement System (APERS). Because employees of the county li- brary were subject to the control of the county in terms of remuneration, the library employees were entitled to APERS contributions and other ben- efits of county employees under Ark. Code Ann. § 24-4-101. In this deter- mination, the AG emphasized that the APERS board of trustees would have the final power to decide the question in a case of doubt. Under Ark. Code Ann. § 24-4-101(14)(A), county em- ployees are “all employees whose com- pensations are payable, either directly or indirectly, by county participating public employers.” Further, “a ‘coun- ty’ may be any county in Arkansas, ‘includ[ing] all ... boards ... that are duly constituted agencies of the coun- ty.’” Tus, in this instance, the county library board fell within this defini- tion, making its employees eligible for APERS contribution by the county.


AG OPINION NO. 2017-004 Te AG considered the following question: Does the county judge, or instead, the quorum court, have the authority to assign proposed ordi- nances among existing committees? Te AG determined that this power lies exclusively with the quorum court. Under both Ark. Const. amend. 55, § 1(a) and Ark. Code Ann. § 14-14- 801(a), the quorum court is desig- nated as the county’s local legislative


authority. Te county judge may ap- point the members of quorum court committees and limit the size of those committees; however, “assigning pro- posed ordinances to specific existing committees falls within the quorum- court’s managerial and procedural authorities, if not its local legisla- tive powers.” Furthermore, quorum courts are not prohibited from assign- ing ordinances to committees.


AG OPINION NO. 2016-139 Te AG made clear that the “park- ing lot exception” under Act 1078 of 2015 includes county parking lots. Tis exception allows concealed-carry licensees to leave his or her concealed handgun in his or her “locked and un- attended motor vehicle” in a “publicly owned and maintained parking lot.” Tis act amended statutes relating to both the concealed handgun licens- ing law and criminal weapons statutes to expand exceptions. Under this act, a concealed-carry licensee may leave his or her concealed handgun hidden from view in a locked and unattended vehicle in a publically owned parking lot — including county-owned park- ing lots — “without fear of either pros- ecution or license revocation.”


AG OPINION NO. 2016-137 While evaluating whether an em-


ployee’s employee evaluation records were properly disclosed in response to a request under the Arkansas Free- dom of Information Act (FOIA), the Attorney General determined that the records were properly disclosed. Under FOIA, a document is subject to disclosure if the request is directed


AG Opinions


to an entity subject to the act, the r equested document is a public re- cord, and no e xc ept ions allow the document to be with- held. Two e xc ept ions may prevent a request from being granted — personnel records and em- ployee evaluation or job performance records. In this case, the records fell within the employee evaluation re- cords exception. Tis exception refers to any records created by or at the be- hest of the employer in order to evalu- ate the employee and that detail the employee’s performance on the job. Additionally, employee evaluation or job performance records may only be released if all of the following ele- ments are met: (1) the employee was suspended or terminated, (2) there has been a final administrative resolu- tion of the proceeding, (3) these re- cords formed a basis for the decision in this proceeding, and (4) the public has a compelling interest in the dis- closure of the records in question. Te primary purpose of this excep- tion is to preserve the confidentiality of the formal job-evaluation process to promote honest exchanges in em- ployment relationships. Because these conditions were satisfied in this case, an employee’s “Notice of Disciplin- ary Action Form” and accompanying memorandum were properly released.


Mark Whitmore AAC Chief Counsel


www.arcounties.org 12 COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2017


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