Video: Senate Passes Bill Closing Down Some Public Access to Job Applicant Information


Earlier today former Governor Ed Schafer wrote a post for SAB about SB2152. He’s in favor of it, arguing that North Dakota will get more and better applications for public jobs if we don’t make those applications a public record until the final hiring round.

Today the state Senate voted in favor of it as well 29-17:

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I file a lot of open records requests, and a lot of open records/open meetings complaints. I think North Dakota has very, very good transparency laws and I’m loathe to do anything to limit them.

So I wasn’t initially for this measure, but I changed my mind. Mostly because I’ve been thinking about what a struggle it’s been to hire good people to lead in the North Dakota University System.

We’ve had a rash of bad hires to lead our state’s universities – including one who lingers, unfortunately – and I can’t help but feel that we might get a better sort of applicant for those positions if those applicants didn’t know they were divulging their identities in the early hiring rounds.

Public scrutiny of all applications is a small price to pay for that improvement in the process, I think.

You can read the bill here. The text is simple. The exemption is limited. This is good policy.