What records are exempt from the Public Records Law?

All records maintained by the City of Durham are public unless they are exempt from disclosure under the NC Public Records Law.  If a records request is denied, the City will cite the appropriate law that allows the City to withhold the record. 

Exempted records include but are not limited to: 

  • Confidential communications from an attorney to a client within the scope of the attorney-client relationship as defined in NCGS § 132-1.1. 
  • Criminal investigation records and records of criminal intelligence information, as provided in NCGS § 132-1.4 (active and closed investigations). 
  • Sensitive public security information, including specific details of public security plans and arrangements, detailed plans and drawings of public buildings and infrastructure facilities, and certain plans to prevent and respond to terrorist activity, as provided in NCGS § 132-1.7 and technology security information. 
  • Records of minors per NCGS § 132-1-4, 132-1.12 and 7B-2901. 
  • All information contained in City employees’ personnel files maintained by the City is confidential in accordance with NCGS § 160A-168, except information specified to be a matter of public record, such as name, age, dates of employment, current position title, current compensation.  These rules apply to personnel information for applicants, current employees and former employees. 
  • Social security numbers and personal “identifying information” is confidential and unlawful to disclose to the public. In addition to social security numbers, “personal identifying information” includes: employer taxpayer identification numbers; drivers’ license numbers, passport numbers; checking, savings, credit and debit account numbers; personal identification code (PIN) numbers used to access financial resources; digital signatures; and other numbers or information that can be used to access a person’s financial resources; biometric data; fingerprints; and passwords; all as provided in NCGS § 132-1.10, NCGS § 75-61 and NCGS § 14-113.20. 
  • Trade secrets and electronic payment account numbers are protected as set forth in NCGS § 132-1.2. (Note that to protect a “trade secret” detailed requirements must be met.) 
  • The seal of an architect, engineer or land surveyor when that seal has been submitted for project approval under Part 5 of Article 19, Chapter 160A (Building Inspections) as set forth in NCGS § 132-1.2. 
  • Certain economic development incentives are temporarily protected, but the City must make certain prior disclosures to applicants, as provided in NCGS § 132-1.11 and NCGS § 132-6(d). 
  • Closed session meeting minutes that are deemed protected under NCGS § 143-318.10(e).  
  • Water & sewer customer billing information (GS 132-1.1 and GS132.1.2 (2). 


Show All Answers

1. Public Records Definition
2. What records are exempt from the Public Records Law?
3. May I request to inspect a record rather than get a copy?
4. What information should I provide to help the City fulfill my request?
5. How much does it cost to obtain public records?
6. How long should I expect to wait to have my request fulfilled?