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(A) Open records rules and regulations governing access to the public records of the city, conforming to the provisions of KRS 61.870 to 61.884 shall be posted on the city’s website and in a prominent location in all city offices to which the public has access.
(B) Open records that are prepared, owned, used, in the possession of or retained by the city, and all public agencies operating under its jurisdiction, including those that are stored offsite or managed and maintained by a private vendor, shall be accessible to the public by means of onsite inspection, by delivery of copies through the U.S. mail, or, if the length of the document does not exceed 15 pages, by electronic transmission. Delivery of copies by mail is limited to requesters who reside, or have their principal place of business, outside of the county who precisely describe the requested records “which are readily available within the public agency” and who prepays for copies and postage.
(C) No charge may be imposed for onsite inspection of open records and suitable facilities shall be made available for this purpose. The city shall determine whether suitable facilities for onsite inspection of electronic records includes the use of city computers on a case by case basis, focusing on availability (burdensomeness), system security, and the existence of reasonable alternatives.
(D) A reasonable fee, as described in § 37.06, may be imposed for copies of open records, including postage if the copies are mailed to the requester, and prepayment shall be required.
(E) All requests for public records shall be written and signed by the applicant with his or her name printed legibly and transmitted by U.S. mail, facsimile, hand-delivery, or e-mail.
(F) Open records requests shall be directed to the City Clerk or the City Clerk’s designee. In the City Clerk’s absence, at least one designee shall be authorized to perform all open records duties assigned to the City Clerk to ensure the timely and uniform processing of records requests. Misdirected requests shall be transmitted immediately to the City Clerk or the City Clerk’s designee and every city official or employee is responsible for ensuring immediate transmission of all misdirected requests to the City Clerk or the City Clerk’s designee.
(G) The City Clerk or the City Clerk’s designee shall ensure that open records requests are routed to all public agencies, and officers or employees attached to those agencies, operating under the city’s jurisdiction, for the purpose of making “a good faith effort to conduct a search using methods which can reasonably be expected to produce the records requested.” Those agencies, and their officers and employees, shall immediately locate, retrieve, and transmit to the City Clerk all responsive records located on public or private premises or devices for review, redaction, and disclosure or nondisclosure based on the records’ content. Those agencies, and their officers and employees, shall communicate to the City Clerk or the City Clerk’s designee any legally supportable claim of exemption based on the content of the records.
(H) Written requests must contain a description of the records sought, the signature of the requester, and the requester’s name printed legibly or typed. A preprinted form is available for the requester’s use and convenience on the city’s website at https://www.covingtonky.gov or by request, but the requester is not required to use the form as a condition of obtaining open records. The City Manager or the City Manager’s designee shall have the authority to create an appropriate form for the requestor’s use and convenience.
(I) A request to conduct onsite inspection of open records containing a description of the records that is “adequate for a reasonable person to ascertain [its] nature and scope” is legally sufficient. A request that copies of open records be mailed to the requester must contain a “precise description” of the records, and those records must be “readily available”. The City Clerk or the City Clerk’s designee may communicate with the requester to eliminate any confusion or doubt as to the scope of the request, or to otherwise facilitate access, but shall not ask the requester how the requester intends to use the records or the purpose of the request.
(J) Access to public records shall be granted, or denied, based on the records’ content and not on the identity of the requester or the requester’s purpose or intended use of the records.
(K) Public agencies, and officials and employees of public agencies, shall comply with the city’s uniform open records policy in accessing public records of the city or public agencies operating under its jurisdiction but shall, pursuant to KRS 61.878(5) enjoy an enhanced right of access to otherwise exempt public records if the public records are necessary in the performance of a legitimate government function or serve a legitimate governmental need. Public agencies, officials or employees who obtain otherwise exempt public records for these purposes shall ensure the records are not publicly disclosed.
(L) No requester shall be required to produce proof of identity to inspect, or obtain copies of, open records.
(M) No requester shall be permitted to remove original copies of city records from city offices without the written permission of the City Clerk or the City Clerk’s designee.
(1984 Code, § 37.04) (Ord. O-14-19, passed 6-11-2019)
Similar provisions, see KRS 61.872(1), (2), (3), (3)(b), 61.874(3), (4), 61.878(5)