Former District 68 representative William Daniel, Baton Rouge, was the primary author of Louisiana Revised Statute RS 44:12.1* that directly states the “name of each applicant for a public position” is a public record. That law is cited by attorneys on both sides of the fight over whether the names of the 35 candidates to be LSU’s president should be made public.
The law does not define “applicant,” and the LSU Board of Supervisors argues that F. King Alexander was the only official applicant for the job. “I would think applicant is a pretty well-defined term,” says Daniel, Mayor Kip Holden’s top administrator.
“If you apply for the job, you’re an applicant.” Daniel is not a lawyer, but stresses that he’s not taking sides on the legal questions at issue. He stated that he understands LSU’s legal contention that a public search could “scare off” good candidates, and calls Alexander “an outstanding president for the university.” But he continues the …“resumes and CVs of the candidates, which a private search firm kept on an electronic database accessible to the board’s search committee, should be considered public records.”
Daniel continues, “I guess the problem is that LSU must have promised them confidentiality,” … “I think they made a promise they shouldn’t have made.” He says if lawmakers try to anticipate every possible circumstance, they can end up making laws that are too restrictive. “If people would just follow the spirit of the law,” he says, “government would work a lot better for people.”
A. The name of each applicant for a public position of authority or a public position with policymaking duties, the qualifications of such an applicant related to such position, and any relevant employment history or experience of such an applicant shall be available for public inspection, examination, copying, or reproduction as provided in Part II of this Chapter.
B.(1) No public body or agent acting on behalf of such a public body shall utilize only oral contacts and interviews of applicants considered when filling vacancies in public positions of authority or public positions with policymaking duties or use any other means to circumvent the provisions of this Section.
(2)(a) Nothing in this Section shall prohibit oral contact prior to a person becoming an applicant or shall prohibit oral contact which may result in written documents.
(b) Nothing in this Paragraph shall require a particular method or procedure for filling vacancies as long as not exclusively by use of oral contact.
(3) Any person who violates the provisions of this Section shall be subject to all applicable penalties for violations of this Chapter.
Acts 2006, No. 746, §1.