PUBLIC INFORMATION — The Record Searchlight in Redding on Monday sued the Anderson Fire Protection
District to obtain an investigator's report on the conduct of its
former fire chief, reports Jim Schultz in that newspaper.

Redding attorney Walter McNeill filed the lawsuit in Shasta County
Superior Court on behalf of the newspaper and seeks release of a
document focusing on the district's investigation into ex-Fire Chief
Joe Piccinini.

Hired by the fire protection district in October 2007, Piccinini was
placed on paid administrative leave in May as an investigator looked
into allegations of mismanagement and misconduct.

Piccinini resigned on July 1 and neither he nor the fire board have
offered an explanation of the resignation or disclosed the findings of
the investigation, which cost $41,000.

The Record Searchlight sought release of the information under the
state's Public Records Act, but the district denied the request.

"The district and its board have since withdrawn behind a veil of
silence, while unlawfully refusing to release the investigative report
despite requests from the public and the newspaper," the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit says that the report is a public record, but fire protection officials say it's exempt from the Public Records Act.

Record Searchlight Editor Silas Lyons has said that the newspaper
has won similar cases against the city of Redding in April 2008 and
against the Dunsmuir Union High School District in January 2007. Both
cases involved investigations of top public officials.