Public Records Policies
It is the policy of this office that openness leads to a better informed citizenry, which leads to better government and better public policy. It is the policy of this office to strictly adhere to the state’s Public Records Act. All exemptions to openness are to be construed in their narrowest sense and any denial of public records in response to a valid request must be accompanied by an explanation, including legal authority, as outlined in the Ohio Revised Code. If the request is in writing, the explanation must also be in writing.
Section 1. Public Records
This office, in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code, defines records as including the following: Any document – paper, electronic (including, but not limited to, e-mail), or other format – that is created or received by, or comes under the jurisdiction of a public office that documents the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the office. All records of this office are public unless they are specifically exempt from disclosure under the Ohio Revised Code.
It is the policy of this office that, as required by Ohio law, records will be organized and maintained so that they are readily available for inspection or copying. Record retention schedules are to be updated regularly and posted prominently.
Public records are to be available for inspection during regular business hours, with the exception of published holidays. Public records must be made available for inspection promptly. Copies of public records must be made available within a reasonable period of time. “Prompt” and “reasonable” take into account the volume of records requested; the proximity of the location where the records are stored; and the necessity for any legal review of the records requested.
Section 2: Records Requests
If a requester makes an ambiguous or overly broad request of his difficulty in making a request for copies or inspection of public records such that this public office cannot reasonable identify what public records are being requested, this public office may deny the request, but must provide the requester with an opportunity to revise the request by information the requester of the manner in which records are maintained by the public office and accessed in the ordinary course of this public office’s duties.
Unless specifically required or authorized by state of federal law or in accordance with the Public Records Law, no public office may limit or condition the availability of public records by requiring disclosure of the requester’s identity of the intended use of the public record. However, this public office may ask a requester to make the request in writing, to ask for the requester’s identify, and to inquire about the intended use of the information requested, but only after disclosing to the requester that a written request is not mandatory and that the requester may decline to reveal the requester’s identity or the intended use.
If a request for public records is ultimately denied, in part or in whole, this public office must provide the requester with an explanation, including legal authority, setting forth why the request was denied. If portions of a record are public and portions are exempt, the exempt portions are to be redacted and the rest released. If there are redactions, each redaction must be accompanied by a supporting explanation, including legal authority.
Section 3. Costs for Public Records
Those seeking public records will be charged only the actual cost of making copies. The charge for paper copies is .5 cents per page. Requesters may ask that documents be mailed to them. They will be charged the actual cost of the postage and mailing supplies.