|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
October 26, 1999
Ms. Lisa Aguilar
Dear Ms. Aguilar:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Texas Public Information Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 128640.
The City of Corpus Christi (the "city") received a request as clarified for "any and all documents with regard to [the city's] annexation" of portions of San Patricio County. You state that, with the exception of one document, the city has made the requested information available to the requestor. The city asserts that this document is excepted from required public disclosure based on sections 552.106 and 552.111.
Section 552.111 of the Government Code excepts from required public disclosure:
An interagency or intraagency memorandum or letter that would not be available by law to a party in litigation with the agency.
This exception applies to a governmental body's internal communications consisting of advice, recommendations, or opinions reflecting the policymaking process of the governmental body at issue. See Open Records Decision No. 615 (1993). An agency's policymaking function, however, do not encompass internal administrative or personnel matters; disclosure of information relating to such matters will not inhibit free discussion among agency personnel as to policy issues. See id. at 5-6; see also Garland v. Dallas Morning News, No. 05-95-01350-CV (Tex. App.--Dallas May 13, 1998, n.w.h.). Section 552.111 does not except from disclosure purely factual information that is severable from the opinion portions of the information. See Open Records Decision No. 615 at 4-5 (1993).
We have reviewed the document at issue. Portions of the document are purely factual and therefore subject to public disclosure. However, other portions of the document consist of advice, recommendation and opinion reflecting the city's policymaking process that are excepted from public disclosure under section 552.111. We have marked the document accordingly.
The protection of section 552.106 also extends to a governmental body's deliberative process, but only in regard to the enactment of legislation. Like section 552.111, section 552.106 does not protect purely factual material. Open Records Decision Nos. 460 at 2 (1987). Consequently, section 552.106 does not protect the factual information that is not covered by section 552.111.
In summary, the city may withhold from required public disclosure portions of the document where we have marked based on section 552.111 of the Government Code. The city must release to the requestor the other portions of the document.
We are resolving this matter with this informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and may not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.
Kay H. Hastings
Ref.: ID# 128640
encl. Marked documents
cc: Mr. Hal George
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US