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Judge rules against city of Columbia in open records lawsuit

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) _ A Boone County judge has ruled that the city of Columbia violated the state’s Sunshine law during a disagreement with the city’s police union.

Circuit Judge Brouck Jacobs ruled this week that City Manager Mike Matthes violated the law in September 2016 when he refused to release public documents sought by the Columbia Police Officers’ Association.

The union represents most Columbia police officers. It sued the city in October 2016 after Matthes’ denied the request for responses to surveys Matthes gave police officers concerning work-related issues.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports Matthes contended the responses to the survey contained personnel information and could hurt morale.

Jacobs ruled Tuesday that the survey responses are open records. The city was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and the union’s court costs.