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(a) Public Records.
(1) In accordance with the Ohio Revised Code and applicable judicial decisions, "records" are defined as any item that: (i) contains information stored on a fixed medium (such as paper, electronic, including but not limited to e-mail, and other formats); (ii) is created or received by, or sent under the jurisdiction of a public office; and (iii) documents the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations or other activities of the office.
(2) Public records are to be open to the public at all reasonable times with exceptions only as provided for in the law.
(3) As required by Ohio law, records will be organized and maintained so that they are readily available for inspection and copying within a reasonable period of time during regular business hours. Record retention schedules are to be updated regularly.
(b) Record Requests. Each request for public records should be evaluated for a response using the following guidelines:
(1) 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 public office to identify, retrieve, and review the records. If it is not clear what records are being sought, the records custodian may contact the requester for clarification, and should let the requestor revise the request by informing the requester of the manner in which the office keeps its records.
(2) 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 this office's general policy that if this information is requested upon disclosure that the requester may decline to give the information.
(3) Public records that are requested 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.
(4) Each request should be evaluated for an estimated length of time required to gather the records.
(5) 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.
(c) Costs for Public Records. Those seeking public records will be charged only the actual cost of making copies.
(1) There will be a charge for copies.
(2) The charge for downloaded computer files to a compact disc is one dollar ($1.00) per disc.
(3) There is no charge for documents e-mailed.
(4) Requesters may ask that documents be mailed to them. They will be charged the actual cost of the postage and mailing supplies.
(1) Records in private e-mail accounts used to conduct public business are subject to disclosure, and all employees or representatives of this office are instructed to retain their e-mails that relate to public business (see division (a) of this section) and to copy them to their business e-mail accounts and/or to the office's records custodian.
(2) The records custodian is to treat the e-mails from private accounts as records of the public office, 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.
(Ord. 2007-O-14. Passed 11-13-07.)