Village Records Ordinance

Village Records Ordinance

208.01   Statement of policy.
208.02   Public records defined.
208.03   Record request.
208.04   Costs for public records .
208.05   E-mail.
208.06   Failure to respond to public records request.
   CROSS REFERENCES
   Copies of municipal records ; fees – see ADM. 228.01
   Records Clerk – see ADM. Ch. 244
   Records Commission – see ADM. Ch. 276

Bookmark208.01  STATEMENT OF POLICY.
   It is the policy of the Village of Timberlake (the Village) that openness leads to a better informed citizenry, which leads to better government and better public policy. It is the policy of the Village 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.
(Res. 2008-7.  Passed 1-15-08.)

Bookmark208.02  PUBLIC RECORDS DEFINED.
   The Village, 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 the Village that documents the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the Village. All records of the Village are public unless they are specifically exempt from disclosure under the Ohio Revised Code.
(Res. 2008-7.  Passed 1-15-08.)

Bookmark208.03  RECORD REQUEST.
   Each request for public records should be evaluated for a response using the following guidelines:
   (a)   Although no specific language is required to make a request, the requester must at least identify the records requested with sufficient clarity to allow the Village to identify, retrieve, and review the records . If it is not clear what records are being sought, the records custodian must contact the requester for clarification, and should assist the requestor in revising the request by informing the requestor of the manner in which the Village keeps its records .
   (b)   The requester does not have to put a records request in writing, and does not have to provide his or her identity or the intended use of the requested public record . It is general policy that this information is not to be requested.
   (c)   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.
   (d)   (1)   Each request should be evaluated for an estimated length of time required to gather the records . Routine requests for records should be satisfied immediately if feasible to do so. Routine requests include, but are not limited to, meeting minutes (both in draft and final form), budgets, salary information, forms and applications, personnel rosters, etc. If fewer than twenty pages of copies are requested or if the records are readily available in an electronic format that can be e-mailed or downloaded easily, these should be made as quickly as the equipment allows.
      (2)   All requests for public records must either be satisfied or acknowledged in writing by the Village within three business days following the Village’s receipt of the request. If a request is deemed significantly beyond “routine”, such as seeking a voluminous number of copies or requiring extensive research, the acknowledgement must include the following:
         A.   An estimated number of business days it will take to satisfy the request.
         B.   An estimated cost if copies are requested.
         C.   Any items within the request that may be exempt from disclosure.
   (e)   Any denial of public records requested must include an explanation, including legal authority. 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.
(Res. 2008-7.  Passed 1-15-08.)

Bookmark208.04  COSTS FOR PUBLIC RECORDS .
   Those seeking public records will be charged only the actual cost of making copies.
   (a)   The charge for paper copies is $0.05 per page.
   (b)   The charge for downloaded computer files to a compact disc is $1 per disc.
   (c)   There is no charge for documents e-mailed.
   (d)   Requesters may ask that documents be mailed to them. They will be charged the actual cost of the postage and mailing supplies.
(Res. 2008-7.  Passed 1-15-08.)

Bookmark208.05  E-MAIL.
   Documents in electronic mail format are records as defined by the Ohio Revised Code when their content relates to the business of the Village. E-mail is to be treated in the same fashion as records in other formats and should follow the same retention schedules.
   (a)   Records in private e-mail accounts used to conduct public business are subject to disclosure, and all employees or representatives of the Village are instructed to retain their e-mails that relate to public business (see Section 208.02Public Records Defined) and to copy them to their business e-mail accounts and/or to the Village’s records custodian.
   (b)   The records custodian is to treat the e-mails from private accounts as records of the Village, filing them in the appropriate way, retaining them per established schedules and making them available for inspection and copying in accordance with the Public Records Act.
(Res. 2008-7.  Passed 1-15-08.)

Bookmark208.06  FAILURE TO RESPOND TO PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST.
   The Village recognizes the legal and non-legal consequences of failure to properly respond to a public records request. In addition to the distrust in government that failure to comply may cause, the Village’s failure to comply with a request may result in a court ordering the Village to comply with the law and to pay the requester attorney’s fees and damages.
(Res. 2008-7.  Passed 1-15-08.)