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September 19, 2000

Ms. Sandra M. Zimmerman
Assistant City Attorney
Law Department
City of Austin
P.O. Box 1546
Austin, Texas 78767-1546

OR2000-3601

Dear Ms. Zimmerman:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act (the "Act"), chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 139162.

The City of Austin (the "city") received a request for information submitted to the city by Bonding and Technical Services, Inc. (the "company"). The city seeks a determination of whether sections 552.101 and 552.110 of the Government Code except the requested information from required public disclosure. You assert no argument in support of excepting the requested information under either section 552.101 or 552.110, but state that you have complied with the requirements of section 552.305(d) by giving notice of this request to the company whose interests may be affected, so that it would have an opportunity to submit a brief to this office in support of withholding its proprietary information from release. To date, this office has not received such a brief from the company. Therefore, we have no basis upon which to conclude that the submitted information is excepted from required public disclosure under the Act. As such, you must release the submitted information to the requestor in its entirety.

This letter ruling is limited to the particular records at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records or any other circumstances.

This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the governmental body and of the requestor. For example, governmental bodies are prohibited from asking the attorney general to reconsider this ruling. Gov't Code 552.301(f). If the governmental body wants to challenge this ruling, the governmental body must appeal by filing suit in Travis County within 30 calendar days. Id. 552.324(b). In order to get the full benefit of such an appeal, the governmental body must file suit within 10 calendar days. Id. 552.353(b)(3), (c). If the governmental body does not appeal this ruling and the governmental body does not comply with it, then both the requestor and the attorney general have the right to file suit against the governmental body to enforce this ruling. Id. 552.321(a).

If this ruling requires the governmental body to release all or part of the requested information, the governmental body is responsible for taking the next step. Based on the statute, the attorney general expects that, within 10 calendar days of this ruling, the governmental body will do one of the following three things: 1) release the public records; 2) notify the requestor of the exact day, time, and place that copies of the records will be provided or that the records can be inspected; or 3) notify the requestor of the governmental body's intent to challenge this letter ruling in court. If the governmental body fails to do one of these three things within 10 calendar days of this ruling, then the requestor should report that failure to the attorney general's Open Government Hotline, toll free, at 877/673-6839. The requestor may also file a complaint with the district or county attorney. Id. 552.3215(e).

If this ruling requires or permits the governmental body to withhold all or some of the requested information, the requestor can appeal that decision by suing the governmental body. Id. 552.321(a); Texas Department of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408,411 (Tex. App.--Austin 1992, no writ).

Please remember that under the Act the release of information triggers certain procedures for costs and charges to the requestor. If records are released in compliance with this ruling, be sure that all charges for the information are at or below the legal amounts. Questions or complaints about over-charging must be directed to the General Services Commission at 512/475-2497.

If the governmental body, the requestor, or any other person has questions or comments about this ruling, they may contact our office. Although there is no statutory deadline for contacting us, the attorney general prefers to receive any comments within 10 calendar days of the date of this ruling.

Sincerely,

Amanda Crawford
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

AEC/er

Ref: ID# 139162

Encl: Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Calvin W. Stephens
President
SSP Consulting, L.C.
600 North Pearl, Suite 2195
Dallas, Texas 75201
(w/o enclosures)

Ms. Sheri A. Aaron
Vice President
Bonding and Technical Services, Inc.
4150 Friedrich Lane, Suite C
Austin, Texas 78744
(w/o enclosures)


 

POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US
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