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Policy and FAQ:
Being provided access to records is not only a right of the public to make certain governments are accountable for their actions and decisions, but is a privilege to public servants by ensuring open government and that democratic rights are being secured.
Records are created or received by the oﬃce and document the agency’s organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities regardless of the medium it is placed on (ORC 149.011). All records are open to the public unless they do not meet the definition of a record or are exempt from disclosure by law.
A record that is not a public record under Section 149.43(A)(1) of the Ohio Revised code and that, under law, is permanently retained becomes a public record on the day that is seventy‐five years after the day on which the record was created. Exceptions to this law include:
· A record protected by the attorney‐client privilege;
· A trial preparation record, as defined by ORC 149.43;
· A statement prohibiting the release of identifying information signed by a biological parent under adoption law (ORC 3107.083)
· A denial of release form that is signed by a birth parent and filed with the Department of Health under an adoption law (ORC 3107.46)
· Security and infrastructure records that are exempt from release or disclosure under continuing law (ORC 149.433)
Additionally, if the record is a birth certificate, and a biological parent’s name redaction request form has been accepted by the Department of Health under continuing law (ORC 3107.391), the name of the parent must be redacted from the birth certificate before it can be disclosed. If any other section of the Revised Code establishes a time period for disclosure of a record that conflicts with the time period specified in this section, the time period in the other section prevails (ORC 149.43).
How do I request records?
When you request record(s) for purview, you must clearly state what existing records are being requested. This is done to allow the oﬃce to fulfill the request correctly and promptly. If the request is vague, the oﬃce will ask for more clarification on what is being requested.
How long will it take for the oﬃce to fulfill my request?
Records are retrieved within a reasonable amount of time in accordance with the volume of records being requested, the physical location of those records to the main oﬃce, the amount of time required for legal review for possible disclosure or redactions, and the time needed to prepare them for delivery. For voluminous requests requiring additional time to fulfill, an acknowledgement letter will be sent to you specifying the estimated timeframe, which the request will be completed, estimated payment costs, and exemptions and disclosures of the records, if applicable.
If you would like to inspect records on‐site, the oﬃce will collect the records for inspection to view during public business hours under the supervision of the oﬃce’s records keeper to ensure the requestor receives satisfactory customer service.
What format will my records be provided in?
A requester can choose to have records copied on paper, in the same medium as the public oﬃce keeps them, or on any medium upon which the public oﬃce or person responsible for the public records determines the record can reasonably be duplicated as an integral part of the normal operations of the public oﬃce.
What happens if my request cannot be fulfilled?
While the oﬃce will strive to fulfill your request, overly broad requests, where the oﬃce cannot identify the records being requested or the requester does not clearly specify the records being requested, cannot be completed. However, the oﬃce will contact the requester if his or her contact information is available to explain how the records are arranged to allow for the request to be altered, thus providing the oﬃce with information to fulfill the request.
The oﬃce cannot fulfill a records request for a record that has not yet been created. Routine requests for records created on an ongoing basis can only be requested after the record’s creation. The oﬃce is not responsible for creating a new record or performing extensive research to fulfill requests. In these cases, you are encouraged to visit the oﬃce in person to review existing records to collect desired information.
What are redacted and closed records?
Some records contain information on them which are exempt from disclosure, but the remainder of the record is public. In these circumstances, the oﬃce will provide the requested records with the disclosed information removed. A letter will be provided to you stating what redactions were made and the citation of law allowing the redaction(s). If the records being requested are exempt from public view, a letter will be sent to you stating the law citation for the disclosure.
Do I have to pay the oﬃce for my request?
You will be charged for the actual costs of copies and, if requested, the costs of mailing the records to you, but you will not be charged for employee labor used to compile your request. Payment for the request must be provided to the oﬃce before the records are received.
Records must be organized and maintained to allow for inspection and copying. To better facilitate records requests, the oﬃce’s records retention schedule, which lists records created by the oﬃce, is available for review. All county retention schedules and disposal records are located at the Records & Archives Department (670‐5121).
Individuals who have inquiries or questions regarding responses to their records requests are encouraged to contact the records keeper, Kristy Hawthorne at 740-670-5330 for assistance.