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H.B. school trustee’s legal victory in effort to see city job applications stands after appellate court declines to review case

H.B. school trustee’s legal victory in effort to see city job applications stands after appellate court declines to review case
A state appellate panel declined to review a lawsuit filed against Huntington Beach by Ocean View School District trustee John Briscoe, pictured, who sought access to city records, particularly job applications of employees working in trash disposal. (File Photo)

A state appellate court has declined to review a Huntington Beach school trustee's lawsuit seeking access to city employment records, in effect upholding a lower court's ruling granting him the records.

A panel of judges from the 4th District Court of Appeal on Thursday turned away the city's appeal of John Briscoe's case, which sought a variety of city records, particularly job applications of employees working in trash disposal that the city had withheld from him.

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City Attorney Michael Gates said Monday that his office is considering appealing to the California Supreme Court.

In November, an Orange County Superior Court judge sided with Briscoe's position that the records should be made public. Briscoe, a trustee in the Ocean View School District, sought information related to employment qualifications, such as work history, education and certifications. He said he was concerned about employees' ability to oversee a waste facility across from Oak View Elementary School.

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"With my appeals court victory, we can see if the inspectors are qualified to do their jobs by looking at their applications vs. minimum standards," Briscoe said in a statement Monday. "The students and staff at Oak View Elementary School deserve the same clean living environment as the rest of [the city]."

Huntington Beach's attorneys argued that the job applications are private and that hiring decisions are based on several factors, including assessments and interviews. Disclosing applications does not provide context on whether what's stated in them is true, they said.

"This is an important matter for city workers," Gates said in an email. "Regardless of the final result, we are very proud to fight for workers' privacy rights and the city's ability to protect workers from warrantless invasions and attempts at capricious public shaming like what Briscoe has been trying to do here."

Twitter: @BradleyZint

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