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Salt Lake County Council rules DA’s notebook is private
GRAMA » Former prosecutor sought D.A.’s notes to prove she was fired for retribution.

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Councilman Arlyn Bradshaw said that, in his mind, it is easy to distinguish between personal notes and communications that reflect a politician’s intent to do something. Since neither council members nor Andruzzi know if Gill’s notebook actually contains any remarks about dumping her, Bradshaw said "let a judge decide what’s admissible."

Andruzzi said that was fine by her and cited a 2008 Utah Supreme Court decision that said the county council was wrong to reject a Deseret News GRAMA request for an investigative report into a sexual-harassment complaint without examining the report’s contents.

At a glance

How they voted

The Salt Lake County Council voted 5-3 on Tuesday to deny former prosecutor Michaela Andruzzi’s request for County District Attorney Sim Gill’s notebook under the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA).

» Against the appeal: Jim Bradley, D; Arlyn Bradshaw, D; Sam Granato, D; Randy Horiuchi, D; and David Wilde, R.

» For the appeal: Steve DeBry, R; Michael Jensen, R; Richard Snelgrove, R.

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That unanimous ruling said the council’s judgment on the appeal "could be made only after the County reviewed the content of the requested investigative report and took into account the competing interests of public access versus restricted disclosure. A governmental entity’s commitment to perform this important work of interest identification and balancing is essential if GRAMA’s aims are to be realized."

Tsakalos maintained the Supreme Court ruling did not apply in this case because it involves notes, not a formal investigative report.

Jensen asked to delay the decision until the next council meeting July 16 so he and Rose could research other court rulings on how GRAMA applies to notes. But his motion failed on a 4-4 vote strictly along party lines, Republicans for a delay, Democrats against it (the council’s ninth member, Republican Max Burdick, was absent following a death in his family).

Then, when Horiuchi made a motion to reject Andruzzi’s GRAMA request, GOP Councilman David Wilde joined the Democrats in voting for denial. He had earlier expressed reservations about broadening the interpretation of GRAMA too much — "let’s be careful of the precedent set," he said — and said a court could decide better because it "thinks in terms of legalities. Here, politics and emotions come into play."

mikeg@sltrib.comTwitter: @sltribmikeg

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