Arkansas judge rules text messages in public-records dispute subject to disclosure

Submitted by NFOIC on Thu, 09/17/2020 - 8:02am

Text messages between a state agency director and vendor's representative are public under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act and the representative's name "should be disclosed," a Pulaski County circuit judge ruled Monday.

"The messages reflect the performance or lack of performance of official functions because they inextricably intertwine personal and public-business matters such that there is a substantial nexus between the two," according to the order from Judge Chris Piazza.

The messages, requested under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, are at the center of a personal relationship between former Department of Information Systems Director Mark Myers and a vendor's representative that raised questions a few years ago about three state projects with that vendor, totaling $8.2 million.

Myers sued the Department of Transformation and Shared Services secretary Jan. 9, asking a judge to block the release of messages he exchanged at the time on his state-issued cellphone with the vendor's representative. Read more.