City sues to keep some documents, emails private

EL PASO,Texas - The City of El Paso is suing the Texas Attorney General's Office, hoping to stop the release of personal papers and emails.

After multiple requests for the private emails and documents to go public, the City of El Paso asked the Texas Attorney General to decide whether that should be considered pubic information at all.
In a response letter sent to a local attorney -- the Attorney General's Office claims some of those private emails could be considered public communication.
"This office has found that information in a public official's personal e-mail account and home telephone records may be subject to the act ... where the public official uses the personal e-mail account and home telephone records to conduct public business."

The City of El Paso has now filed a Petition for Declaratory Judgment seeking a decision that the personal papers, emails and effects of local government officials and local government employees are not subject to "open records searches," according to a City of El Paso news release Wednesday night.

The City is arguing that those documents do not meet the statutory definition of public information.

"Public Information" as defined by State law consists of information that is collected, assembled, or maintained under a law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business: (1) by a governmental body; or (2) for a governmental body and the governmental body owns the information or has a right of access to it. The City of El Paso does not collect, assemble or maintain personal records of the elected officials or City staff. The City Attorney was granted authority to file the petition when she briefed City Council concerning the information request filed by Mr. Aleshire."

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