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For your information

This year, from the Airport Commission to the Brainerd City Council, issues with public information have arisen. From Alderman Olson attempting to collect public data from Theresa Goble, finance director, to my digging into airport commission information (Tim Houle), questions have been raised and walls run into.

Here is information for you, dear citizen: advisory opinion from the Administrators Office of Minnesota, are emails public information? Why yes they are. All information collected from any government entity is public information unless classified regardless of the format the information is stored in, all information received by our government bodies is available, and you may inspect this information with out assessment of a fee.

Does a public employee have to explain the meaning of this data? This question has been raised and Thomas Fitzpatrick, city of Brainerd Attorney, stated no, employees do not have to answer questions about the data. Not even to their bosses, the council and mayor, whom (Wallin) was rather vocal in support of not having questions answered for Alderman Olson by the finance director.

According to Advisory Opinion 00-019 “Upon request to a responsible authority or designee, a person shall be permitted to inspect and copy public government data at reasonable times and places, and, upon request, shall be informed of the data’s meaning.” Question are allowed and answers are required.

I don’t have a law degree, Fitzpatrick does, why didn’t he find this information?

Wallin also chastised Alderman Olson about his education. We don’t know Theresa Goble’s education and background, can we ask?

“Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 13.43, subdivision 2 (a)(2), you are entitled to gain access to data the entity maintains about a public employee’s education and training background; and previous work experience.”

As Sam Elliot would say, ‘Nuff Said.’

Steven Wolff


Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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