PERS checks whether records are in public reports
December 12, 2013
The head of the Public Employees Retirement System told her board Wednesday that, while it is working with a Reno newspaper on its request for data about individual retirees, she doubts that what members want is contained in the system’s public reports.
The Nevada Supreme Court in November overturned a district court ruling that made individual accounts of retirees and PERS members public. But Executive Director Tina Leiss said the decision left unanswered questions.
“There are a lot of opinions as to what the decision means,” she said.
It declared the individual accounts of PERS members confidential, as directed by state statute. But the decision added that, if any of that personal information is contained in other existing administrative reports prepared by PERS, those reports are public.
“The decision said members files are confidential, so we certainly don’t want to compromise that,” Leiss said.
But she said PERS produces “a lot of reports,” and her staff still is combing through them to see whether the information sought by the Reno Gazette-Journal is in any of them.
“We’re looking, but I don’t think there’s any one report that would have every piece of information they requested,” Leiss said.
She said that’s because, as a rule, PERS administrative reports “are designed not to give individual information.”
“We may have bits and pieces,” she said.
The Supreme Court decision also stated that, while PERS must make its administrative reports available to the public, an agency can’t be required to create new documents or customized reports by compiling information from individuals’ filed and other records.
Board Chairman Mark Vincent said it’s important to comply with the confidentiality statute, but that “to the extent we can, being as transparent as we can is to everybody’s advantage.”