Here’s a followup to yesterday’s release of hundreds of e-mails to and from Leslie Rutledge, the Republican nominee for attorney general, who worked on the Department of Human Services legal staff until resigning abruptly in 2007.
DHS records show her superiors placed a note in her file saying that she should not be rehired on account of “gross misconduct.” Rutledge says she has no idea why she got a negative rating. She said she left to go to work for Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign.
News of her work record led to FOI requests for her e-mail. The release yesterday shed little light on Rutledge’s work. As a matter of law, the department may not release information that constitutes a record of her job performance because she was not fired or suspended.
DHS said yesterday that about 70 e-mails had been sent to the attorney general’s office for review. On further review, spokesman Amy Webb said 36 had been sent. A letter from J. Mark White, director of the DHS Office of Policy and Legal Services, said:
None of them formed the basis of any decision to suspend or terminate an employee. Consistent with the department’s interpretation of the FOI Act and our past practice, we have determined that all of the attached e-mails are personnel records, not job performance or employee evaluation records, and that their disclosure would not constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Ms. Rutledge has indicated her desire that we seek your opinion prior to release.
Webb said that, to the best of her knowledge, no e-mails had been withheld totally from public release because they DID constitute job performance or evaluation records. Some client information was withheld.
Rutledge continues to not answer the question of whether she would voluntarily release department documents about her job performance, though she has said she might investigate if she is elected attorney general.