Tuesday, February 2, 2010

N.H. High Court Boosts Right-to-Know Law

New Hampshire Supreme Court BuildingImage via Wikipedia
In a Jan. 29 unanimous decision in Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire v. Local Government Center, Inc. ("LGC") (Case No. 2009-215), the N.H. Supreme Court ordered a private entity that represents public agencies to release its salary information pursuant to a request under the Granite State's right-to-know law [RSA ch. 91-A (2001 & Supp. 2009)].

Chief Justice John Broderick rejected the LGC claim that its salary data was not covered by the statute, writing that information that reveals how an organization spends taxpayer dollars to conduct public business "is essential to the transparency of government, the very purpose underlying the Right-to-Know law." The firefighters union sought the salary figures from LGC, which represents municipalities and schools, to follow how taxpayer money was being spent by LGC on health insurance. The parties have been embroiled in an eight-year fight as the firefighters union has tried to obtain documents to gauge whether the LGC has been diverting money targeted for health insurance for other purposes.

The Supreme Court denied the union's request for attorneys' fees.
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