The Gazette has been reporting for weeks on disgruntled Rockville city employees who have complained about the conduct of their managers in evaluations, including unsettling allegations of discrimination. One complaint, taken to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, was dismissed.
The city hired an outside law firm, Saul Ewing, to investigate the allegations. The firm produced a $190,000 report that has remained under wraps. The reasoning for keeping the report’s contents secret is that it contains personnel information that cannot be made public.
Although much of what any government does is subject to scrutiny, personnel information is rightfully shielded from the public’s eyes. Still, it’s hard to believe that the entirety of the report must be withheld. It seems equally hard to believe that the city can’t redact certain information. Legitimate boundaries of privacy could be protected and residents then could get a better picture of what happened, why it happened, and how the city is going to prevent it from happening again.
Some of the complaints and allegations have surfaced on social media sites, cloaked in screen names. On the one hand, a website’s anonymous commenters have no boundaries; they can say what they want with little regard to the truth. On the other is the adage of where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Releasing the report, even with large sections redacted, would go a long way toward reassuring city residents about the management of its government.