Court keeps governor’s schedule secret
KENTUCKY — The governor may keep his schedule of daily activities private because it is a “working document” not subject to the state Open Records Act, a circuit court judge ruled in mid-February.
Gov. Brereton Jones’s schedule is intended to reflect public business appointments. It is not created for his personal convenience, but rather for the convenience of his staff in their conduct of official business, the court said.
Each day’s schedule goes through several drafts until a “final” document is prepared the day before the day in question. The “final” schedules, maintained in an official file, do not reflect changes made during the scheduled day. Thus, “the schedule never becomes ‘final,'” the court concluded.
Like a preliminary draft or note, the “working” schedule becomes a part of the deliberative process of government and is exempt from the state Open Records Act, the court said.
The case started when the governor’s office denied a Louisville Courier-Journal reporter’s December 1992 request for copies of the governor’s past daily schedules for the previous year. The Courier-Journal and other media plaintiffs sued the governor in circuit court in Frankfort in April 1993 to force the release of the daily schedules.
Parts of the governor’s schedule — typically one or two speaking events — are made public. The newspapers said the public also has a right to know about the governor’s other official activities, such as with whom he has met and what he has done.
The newspapers filed an appeal to the Court of Appeals in Frankfort in late February.
(Courier Journal and Louisville Times Co. v. Brereton Jones; Media Counsel: Jon Fleischaker, Louisville)