Judge rules that Paonia was right and wrong on records requests

Delta County Independent: A former trustee for the Town of Paonia who was repeatedly denied documents requested under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) may get copies of some of those documents, but they won’t come directly from the town.

At a Nov. 21 hearing in Delta County Court, Judge Jin Ho Pack ruled that while the town can deny access to the documents in question to the public, the town must grant employee Eric Pace access to his personnel file.

The hearing was requested by the town in response to CORA requests filed by former trustee Bill Brunner. Among his nine-point request were records related to an injury Pace suffered in 2016 while working for the Paonia Public Works Department. Pace has also asked for these documents. The hearing was requested to allow the court to make a determination on the requests.

The board held executive sessions specific to Brunner’s CORA requests at the Oct. 24, Nov. 14 and Nov. 18 town meetings. Nerlin and town administrator Ken Knight also attended the sessions. No public discussion about the requests were held prior to or after the sessions, and no action was taken following the sessions.

Brunner, who was elected to the board in 2016, resigned in June after facing sanctions for releasing a series of emails to the press.

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