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Personnel law in North Carolina shrouds records in secrecy

Keeping Secrets, a three-part series by The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)  for Sunshine Week, found North Carolina's 35-year-old personnel law is among the most secretive in the nation, barring access to disciplinary actions, hiring decisions and employment histories. The series had plenty of examples showing how this secrecy is preventing the public from learning about all kinds of governmental abuses — predatory teachers and cops, patronage hires and payroll padding. It also included an electronic survey of state lawmakers on the issue, maps that showed how North Carolina compared to other states, and an internal investigation into patronage at one state agency. As part of Sunshine Week, the News & Observer made the series available to all news outlets in North Carolina, and several ran it. By week's end, one lawmaker said he will draft a bill to open up personnel information, while others said the law needs to be revisited.

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