Government & Politics

City won't disclose employee addresses, claiming its records are too scattered

By Matt Davis, The Lens staff writer |

The City of New Orleans has declined to release the addresses of its employees, saying it has not kept track of whether or not employees want their information kept private.

The Lens sought the addresses as part of a public-records request for city payroll information filed on Sept. 30. We asked for each employee’s hire date, home address, department, title, whether the employee is classified or unclassified, annual salary or pay rate, and whether the employee is full time or part time.

The city responded with all of the requested information except home addresses. While public employee addresses are public record, workers are allowed under state public records law to request that their address be kept confidential. A letter from the City Attorney’s Office explained that employees are given a form when they’re hired, asking whether they want their address kept confidential. But the forms are simply put in each employee’s individual personnel file, not recorded in a single place that officials can easily check.

“The City has no means of determining whether an employee has requested his or her home address be kept confidential without the respective department reviewing individual employee personnel files,” Assistant City Attorney Anita Curran wrote in a letter to The Lens.

So the city collects information that it can’t easily access.

The city said it can't afford to check its records to comply with a public-records request.

Curran is yet to respond to a voicemail asking whether the city plans to start tracking the information more efficiently from now on, so that employee addresses can be released to the public.

It’s not unusual for governments to supply all of the requested information. For three years in a row, the State of Louisiana turned over all of its employee information – including many home addresses — in response to a records request from The Lens. The most recent database was sent to us in October.

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  • Bro Keith “X” Hudson

    This city stinks with corruption, so why would they reveal the names of the corruptors. It’s time that you investigative entities DEMAND accountability from
    these crooks, because the people as myself, don’t have the resources to investigate this demons, and the people who should be doing this aren’t so, these crooks continue to do what they do.

  • Why do you need employees’ addresses? It seems like an intrusive request.

  • Matt Davis

    @E.J. — Thanks for asking. We’re actually interested in using public records to determine such things as whether city employees live in New Orleans. It’s a matter of public policy in other cities, that employees are required to live in the city. We’re looking into it.

  • Maggie

    This basic information (approval of disclosure of home address) should be built into the city employee database.

  • Matt,
    I appreciate your responding. Do you know if releasing only the zip code of employees can be done without employees’ consent? From that info alone you could determine the proportion of employees who live outside of the city.

  • Matt Davis

    E.J. — Good suggestion. In fact we just asked for the zip codes in a supplemental request to the city!