The House Governmental Operations Committee passed House Bill 223 by Rep. Neil Combee, R-Lakeland, Tuesday, which would exempt from public records laws the names of applicants for top administrative posts in Florida’s university or state college systems. The bill must now go before the House Education Committee before going to the full House to be voted on.
The Senate bill (SB 182) by Sen. Alan Hayes, R-Umatilla and Combee’s legislation would remove any personal identifying information about applicants for high administrative jobs in the state-supported education system and would allow closed-door interviews of the applicants.
Hayes’ bill will be heard by the Senate Rules Committee on Thursday, which sets the order of bills to be heard by the full Senate,
The information about the winning applicant would become public when the selection is announced, but perhaps not the names of those who applied and were not chosen, public records supporters said.
Combee and Hays argue that some people might be putting their careers in jeopardy at their current places of employment if employers find they have applied elsewhere.
But Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, said the bills could be a slippery slope to eventually closing down public participation in the process of hiring many executives in public and tax supported agencies.
It could then become true for hiring county managers, school superintendents, municipal administrators, she said.
Original article here.