Judge: Cylvia Hayes acted as public official, must release emails

Marion County ruling deems former first lady’s correspondence to be part of the public record.

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A recent Marion County ruling deems former first lady Cylvia Hayes’ correspondence to be part of the public record.

The decision is the result of a case brought on by a public-records request by the Oregonian.

In an order issued Wednesday morning, Judge Tracy Prall gave Hayes 14 days to provide copies of her emails to the court. Prall will review the emails to determine which are public records and should be released. The office of Gov. Kate Brown already released 94,000 emails between Hayes and Kitzhaber administration staff in April, so Prall will focus on approximately 30,000 additional emails Hayes sent or received in the time period requested by The Oregonian. Hayes never had a government email address and instead used private accounts.

Charles Hinkle, a lawyer for The Oregonian, said on Wednesday that Prall agreed with the previous decision by the attorney general’s office that Hayes was a public official: “Judge Prall agreed with the attorney general that when a person functions as a member of the government, that person is subject to the public records law,” Hinkle said. “And Judge Prall found that the undisputed facts showed that Cylvia Hayes acted as a member of the governor’s office, with authority given to her by the governor, just like any other member of the staff.”

(SOURCE: Portland Tribune)

In April, Gov. Kate Brown released the majority of the 117,000 emails subject to the public-records request. The case decided by Prall resolved the status of the remaining 43,000.

“Plaintiff herself set out the functions she believed she performed or hoped to perform on behalf of the Governor’s Office in her February 2014 ‘revised work portfolio’,” Prall wrote in her order. “Plaintiff led the Oregon Prosperity Initiative, did significant work toward Oregon’s adoption of the “Genuine Progress Indicator” as a measure of policy outcomes, regularly participated in high-level executive branch meetings, orchestrated meetings of state officials, and directed state employees in their work.”

Prall also threw out Hayes’ claim that the court did not have jurisdiction in the case.

(SOURCE: Statesman Journal)

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