A judge ruled today that a portion blacked out in Frederick Community College's settlement agreement with former President Frederico "F.J." Talley is not a personnel record and should be made public.
The college, however, is considering appealing the decision. The record will remain sealed pending appeal, Frederick County Circuit Court Judge G. Edward Dwyer Jr. said.
Talley left the school after a closed session with its board of trustees Jan. 3. FCC and Talley announced the finalization of that parting of company Feb. 14 in a joint statement in which both sides cited differences in vision and philosophy. Neither Talley nor the school and its board have offered further details.
The Frederick News-Post filed suit against the school after it refused to release or acknowledge the existence of a settlement with Talley after a request for the information filed with FCC on Feb. 19 under the Public Information Act.
The newspaper received a redacted version of the settlement agreement last Wednesday, May 15. In it, the college agreed to pay Talley for six months after his resignation. The school also gave him an unsigned letter of recommendation.
On Thursday, attorneys for The News-Post argued that two redacted portions of the settlement should also be made available to the public. Dwyer said on the bench that he could not construe one of the redacted portions to fit any definition of a personnel record “whatsoever.”
Whether the other redacted portion was a personnel record was less clear, but should ultimately be public, Dwyer ruled.
William A. Goldberg, the attorney for the college, said he was considering whether to file an appeal. He had no further comment outside the courtroom.