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Applications for North Carolina County Positions Not Subject to Public Records Act

The North Carolina Supreme Court has held that applications for positions with counties are not subject to inspection and disclosure under the State’s Public Records Act.

This action came after a Yadkin County Superior Court ordered the Yadkin County Board of County Commissions to provide all applications regarding people who had applied for the position of county manager. The Supreme Court found that under N.C.G.S. §153A-98, “Personnel files of … applicants for employment maintained by a county” are subject to disclosure as provided by that section.

The section specifically applies to employees, and includes former employees within that definition. The Court said it “is significant that applicants are not included in this definition.” Thus, it held, “there is not a provision in the section for the access to the files applicants for positions with counties.”

As such, the lower court’s order was reversed with directions to deny plaintiffs relief. See: The Elkin Tribune, Inc., v. Yadkin County Board of County Commissioners, 417 N.E. 2d 465 (N. Car. 1992).

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Related legal case

The Elkin Tribune, Inc., v. Yadkin County Board of County Commissioners