Open Records Request (January 30, 2016)

Karen Smith filed this request with the New Richmond School District of New Richmond, WI.
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Karen Smith

Dear Mr. Olson,

Under the Wisconsin Open Records Law, §19.31 et seq., I am requesting a copy of the following public records:

1. A copy of the “Woznicki Notice” sent to Thomas Woznicki during late June 2014 or July 2014. Brian Johnston, Business Manager at the New Richmond School District, contacted Thomas Woznicki via email on Thursday, June 26, 2014, in order to verify Mr. Woznicki’s postal mailing address because Mr. Johnston was required to send a “Woznicki Notice” to Mr. Woznicki.
2. Copies of all email correspondence between the New Richmond School District, Thomas Woznicki, and the person or entity whose record request (presumably submitted during June 2014) necessitated the “Woznicki Notice” referenced in Item 1 of the current request. With the exception of the “Woznicki Notice” described in Item 1, the current request ONLY seeks email correspondence (as opposed to documents maintained on paper) between the District, Mr. Woznicki, and the requester.
Please note that the current request ONLY seeks records pertaining to the “Woznicki Notice” and related email correspondence sent during June 2014 or July 2014. The current request does NOT seek any additional records related to the ongoing litigation (during the past year) related to Mr. Woznicki’s personnel file, which I have previously requested. With regard to the delivery of the requested records, my preference would be to receive a scanned copy of the records via email.

If there are any fees for searching or copying these records, please inform me if the cost will exceed $150.00 (one hundred fifty and 00/100 U.S. dollars).

I would request a response in writing, within the 5 days described by law, if you intend to deny this request. Also, if you expect a significant delay in fulfilling this request, please contact me with information about when I might expect a copy of the requested records.

If you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.

Thank you for considering my request.

Sincerely,

Karen Smith

From: Patrick Olson

Dear Ms. Smith,

I am writing in response to your requests for the following:

“1. A copy of the “Woznicki Notice” sent to Thomas Woznicki during late
June 2014 or July 2014. Brian Johnston, Business Manager at the New
Richmond School District, contacted Thomas Woznicki via email on Thursday,
June 26, 2014, in order to verify Mr. Woznicki’s postal mailing address
because Mr. Johnston was required to send a “Woznicki Notice” to Mr.
Woznicki.

2. Copies of all email correspondence between the New Richmond School
District, Thomas Woznicki, and the person or entity whose record request
(presumably submitted during June 2014) necessitated the “Woznicki Notice”
referenced in Item 1 of the current request. With the exception of the
“Woznicki Notice” described in Item 1, the current request ONLY seeks email
correspondence (as opposed to documents maintained on paper) between the
District, Mr. Woznicki, and the requester.

Please note that the current request ONLY seeks records pertaining to the
“Woznicki Notice” and related email correspondence sent during June 2014 or
July 2014. The current request does NOT seek any additional records
related to the ongoing litigation (during the past year) related to Mr.
Woznicki’s personnel file, which I have previously requested…”

The District is not able to release a copy of the Woznicki Notice sent to
Thomas Woznicki during late June 2014 or July 2014 or a copy of “all email
correspondence between the New Richmond School District, Thomas Woznicki,
and the person or entity whose record request (presumably submitted during
June 2014) necessitated the ‘Woznicki Notice’” at this time. Currently,
one issue in the present litigation, Woznicki v. Moberg, Wisconsin Court of
Appeals Case No. 15AP1883, is whether all of the contents of Mr. Woznicki’s
personnel file are subject to disclosure under the Wisconsin Open Records
Law. Because these documents are part of Mr. Woznicki’s personnel file, we
cannot provide it until the Court of Appeals issues its decision and the
deadline for appeal of that decision has passed.

Additionally, these documents may constitute “records containing
information relating to an employee that is created or kept by the
authority and that is the result of an investigation into a disciplinary
matter involving the employee or possible employment-related violation by
the employee of a statute, ordinance, rule, regulation, or policy of the
employee’s employer.” See Wis. Stat. § 19.356(2)(a)1. Such records are
currently the primary subject of the dispute in Woznicki v. Moberg. Given
that Mr. Woznicki has commenced an action under Wisconsin Statutes Section
19.356(4), the District is prohibited from providing access to the
requested records during pendency of the action. Wis. Stat. § 19.356(5).
Thus, the District cannot provide a document that is not only part of the
personnel file at issue before the Court of Appeals but also may constitute
the primary subject of the dispute under the Wisconsin Open Records law.

Once the Court of Appeals rules on this matter and the time for appeal has
passed, the District will notify you whether it may provide access to the
requested records by you mentioned above, and if so, whether any redactions
may be required.

In the meantime, if you have any further questions or concerns, please
direct those to the District’s attorney, Trevor Helmers, at
trevor.helmers@raswlaw.com.

Respectfully,

*Patrick B. Olson*
District Administrator
New Richmond School District
Office: 715.243.7413
polson@newrichmond.k12.wi.us

[image: School District of New Richmond]

From: Karen Smith

Dear Mr. Olson,

I submitted an Open Records request to the New Richmond School District on January 30, in which I asked for a copy of the “Woznicki Notice” sent to Thomas Woznicki during late June 2014 or July 2014, along with related email correspondence. You provided a response on February 5, which stated that the New Richmond School District could not release the requested records due to the ongoing litigation.

I am writing again to ask whether you can provide the name of the person or entity whose record request necessitated the “Woznicki Notice” that was sent to Thomas Woznicki during late June 2014 or July 2014. The email correspondence between Brian Johnston and Thomas Woznicki (verifying Mr. Woznicki’s postal mailing address) occurred on June 26, 2014. Thus, I would presume that the relevant Open Records request was submitted to the New Richmond School District during the month of June 2014.

The purpose of this inquiry is to determine, if possible, whether the June 2014 Open Records request was submitted by (or on behalf of) a public school district to which Thomas Woznicki submitted an employment application. I believe a similar situation occurred in 2011, with the request submitted by an attorney representing the Northern Ozaukee School District. If the June 2014 request was made by (or on behalf of) a public school district, I would like to determine the identity of the school district that submitted the request (or on whose behalf the request was submitted). This would allow me to obtain public records directly from the school district that requested the records in June 2014 (either directly or through counsel), whose administration would be free to provide public records despite the ongoing litigation between Thomas Woznicki and the New Richmond School District.

I fully understand that the New Richmond School District cannot release the actual documents I requested on January 30. However, I am requesting that you provide the name or identity of the person or entity whose record request necessitated the “Woznicki Notice” that was sent to Thomas Woznicki during late June 2014 or July 2014. If the June 2014 request was submitted by an attorney representing a school district, I am also requesting that you provide the identity of the school district on whose behalf the request was made (provided that the text of the request included this information).

I will understand if the New Richmond School District is unable to provide information related to the identity of the person or entity whose record request necessitated the “Woznicki Notice” that was sent to Thomas Woznicki during late June 2014 or July 2014. Nonetheless, this information would be very much appreciated, particularly if the request was made by (or on behalf of) a public school district.

Thank you for considering my inquiry.

Sincerely,

Karen Smith

From: Brian Johnston

Dear Ms. Smith,

I am writing in response to your request for the following:

“…However, I am requesting that you provide the name or identity of the
person or entity whose record request necessitated the “Woznicki Notice”
that was sent to Thomas Woznicki during late June 2014 or July 2014. If the
June 2014 request was submitted by an attorney representing a school
district, I am also requesting that you provide the identity of the school
district on whose behalf the request was made (provided that the text of
the request included this information). "

Just to clear up one item first. In reviewing the files of the district
from June 2014, while information was gathered under the assumption that a
“Woznicki Notice” would be required, the information requested was of a
public nature and readily available on the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access
website. Therefore, no actual “Woznicki Notice” was sent at that time.

The requestor on 6-22-14 was:

Jonathan Anderson

No entity affiliation is mentioned.

Sincerely,

Brian Johnston

Business Manager

School District of New Richmond

From: Patrick Olson

RE: *Public Records Request*

Dear Ms. Smith,

On behalf of the School District of New Richmond, I am writing to again
acknowledge that the District has received your request for a copy of
Thomas Woznicki’s personnel file. Upon receipt of a request for this data,
the District conducted a balancing test and determined that the legislative
policy recognizing the public interest in inspection outweighs any harm to
the public interest from disclosure of Mr. Woznicki’s personnel file.
However, the processing of your request was delayed pursuant to Wisconsin
Statutes section 19.356(5), while Mr. Woznicki challenged the release of
the personnel file. Pursuant to that statute, the District was not allowed
to produce the records until the appeal was decided and the time period for
petitioning the Wisconsin Supreme Court for review expired.

On October 4, 2016, the Third District Court of Appeals affirmed the
District’s analysis and ordered the release of the personnel file. As of
November 3, 2016, the time period for Mr. Woznicki to petition for review
of that decision to the Wisconsin Supreme Court has expired without the
filing of such a petition. As such, this matter is now concluded and the
District will proceed to fill your request.

The District’s Public Records Policy, Policy Number 8310, permits the
District to charge reasonable fees for locating and reproducing the
requested record.

The District’s Policy is consistent with Wisconsin Statutes Section 19.35,
which provides that the District may impose fees on a records requester for
the “actual, necessary, and direct cost of reproduc[ing] and transcri[bing]
… photographing and photographic processing … locating … [and] mailing or
shipping” a record. Wis. Stat. § 19.35(3)(a), (b), (c), (d).

The personnel file is 212 pages long, and at 25 cents per page, the cost to
produce the records would be $53.00. However, the District will waive this
fee on a one time only basis for the electronic copy. Please contact me if
you would like to discuss alternative arrangements.

Please be aware that private educational data on students and private data
on Mr. Woznicki, as defined in Wisconsin Statutes section 19.36(10)(a),
have been redacted prior to production, as such data is private and may not
be disclosed.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Respectfully,

*Patrick B. Olson*
District Administrator
School District of New Richmond
Office: 715.243.7413
polson@newrichmond.k12.wi.us

[image: School District of New Richmond]

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