NECMF

Jun 9, 2016 5:30 PM

NH Supreme Court to rule on privacy of personnel files

NH1.com

To release or not to release? That is the question before the state Supreme Court right now.

The court will consider whether personnel files - like the ones most of us have at work - are protected or can be made public.

In 2013, Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams was suspended amid a major investigation of his office after allegations of sexual harassment and mismanaged funds surfaced.

One hundred employee interviews of 74 witnesses were considered for the Attorney General's decision. But what was said remains a mystery to the public.

Now, former Deputy Rockingham County Attorney Tom Reid, the man who served under Reams, has taken his case to the state's highest court, fighting to get that information released.

Reid says the investigation records should be public since voters elected Reams to his position.

But a lawyer for the Attorney General’s office says it could set a dangerous standard for future cases which might silence witnesses who would fear being exposed.

"If employees are willing to participate in interviews regarding misconduct, they want to know that what they will be saying is going to be kept confidential," said Frank Fredericks, representing the attorney general.

No charges were brought against Reams after the investigation concluded, and a judge reinstated him. He has since resigned.

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