NPRI sues Tahoe Douglas Sewer Improvement District over its failure to provide public salary data

MINDEN, Nevada The Nevada Policy Research Institute filed suit today against the Tahoe Douglas Sewer Improvement District (TDSID) for refusing to comply with the Nevada Public Records Act. TDSID has failed to respond — as legally required — to NPRI’s request for the district’s employee compensation records.

NPRI’s Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation filed its Petition in the Ninth Judicial District Court and is asking the court to order the special district to disclose its employee compensation records, as is required by Nevada’s Public Records Act (NPRA), NRS 239. In addition to TDSID, the lawsuit also names District General Manager Janet Murphy as a Respondent, in her official capacity.

In January, NPRI telephoned Murphy to obtain an email address for submitting a public records request. Murphy refused to provide an email address where the records request could be submitted, instead insisting that any public records request be made via U.S. Postal Service on official letterhead.

The NPRA states that any member of the public may make a public records request in either written or oral form, without providing identifying information, or submitting the request on official letterhead.

NPRI seeks TDSID’s payroll records for its project. TransparentNevada is a website dedicated to serving Nevada’s public by providing easily accessible and searchable compensation records for state and local government employees.

In April, CJCL Director and Chief Legal Officer Joseph Becker sent a certified letter to Murphy, providing her — de facto — with a written request, on official letterhead, for the records. The NPRA requires government agencies to respond to all public records requests within 5 business days, but as of today, the Tahoe Douglas Sewer Improvement District has failed to respond to NPRI.

In his letter, Becker also warned that its letter was NPRI’s final attempt to obtain the records before resorting to litigation.

After filing the lawsuit, Becker released the following statement.

The vast majority of Nevada’s government employees and agencies understand that it’s important for government to be transparent. Government must be transparent, both because the public has a right to know and because transparency is needed to provide the information citizens need to hold government accountable.

To date, over 100 Nevada government agencies have complied with the Nevada Policy Research Institute’s requests for government employee name and compensation information.

In the seven years NPRI has run, the Tahoe Douglas Sewer Improvement District has been the least responsive government agency in Nevada. It has violated the public records law by imposing illegal requirements on the public records request itself. Yet, even when NPRI met those unnecessary requirements, the District violated the Public Records Act by not responding with the records or a timeline for providing them.

We call on the Tahoe Douglas Sewer Improvement District to follow the Nevada Public Records Act immediately by releasing its payroll records and to revamp the way it handles public records requests to ensure compliance with Nevada law.

Becker noted that the Nevada Legislature acknowledged the importance of government transparency in passing NRS 239 and in mandating that NPRA “be construed liberally.” contains over 700,000 payroll records spanning seven years from over 100 government agencies. TransparentNevada is frequently used as a resource by elected officials and citizens and has earned over 2 million page views to date in 2014.

Case documents:

The Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation is a public-interest law organization that litigates when necessary to protect the fundamental rights of individuals as set forth in the state and federal constitutions.

Learn more about the Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation and this case at


Update: On September 2, 2014, upon receiving, in large part, those records sought,  NPRI voluntarily dismissed its case without prejudice against the Tahoe Douglas Sewer Improvement District. Information provided thus far by the District has been posted to and the remaining information previously requested and not yet received will be pursued in a new Nevada Public Records Act request.

Media Inquiries

Media inquiries should be directed to Kevin Dietrich, NPRI's Communications Director.
(702) 222-0642