Mayor John W.D. Bowling didn't have to "find a way around" state law to keep the qualifications of finalists for city manager private because the law doesn't require that the city release them, according to an attorney general's opinion released Tuesday.
The city did eventually release the names and qualifications of six finalists, but not in direct response to an Open Records request from The Advocate-Messenger. When first denied access to the qualifications, the newspaper filed an appeal with the state attorney general. Based on conversations with the state office, the newspaper did not ask for the names, just the qualifications.
The City Commission is now interviewing those six people.
Ed Hays, a city attorney, said at the time that he first denied the request he didn't believe the city could release the information without violating the privacy of the candidates.
The opinion states, "The unsuccessful employees might also be embarrassed by disclosure that they wished to leave their present employment."