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It is the policy of the Village of Waverly that openness leads to a better informed citizenry, which leads to better government and better public policy. It is the policy of the Village of Waverly 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 the legal authority, as outlined in the Ohio Revised Code. If the request is in writing, the explanation must also be in writing.
(a) Public Records. The Village of Waverly, 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 the Village of Waverly are public unless they are specifically exempt from disclosure under the Ohio Revised Code.
(1) It is the policy of the Village of Waverly that, as required by Ohio law, records will be organized and maintained so that they are readily available for inspection and copying. (See Section 4 for the e-mail record policy). Record retention schedules are to be updated regularly and are available in the office of the records commissioner.
(b) Record Requests. Each request for public records shall 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.
(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 this information is not to be requested.
(3) 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.
(4) Each request should be evaluated for an estimated length of time required to gather the records. The acknowledgment of the request 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.
(5) Any denial of public records requested and 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) The charge for paper copies is 15 cents per page.
(2) The charge for downloaded computer files to a compact disc is $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.
(d) 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 office. E-mail is to be treated in the same fashion as records in other formats and should follow the same retention schedules.
(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 Section 1 Public Records) 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.
(e) Failure to Respond to a Public Records Request. The Village of Waverly 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 of Waverly’s failure to comply with a request may result in a court ordering the Village of Waverly to comply with the law and to pay the requester attorney’s fees and damages.
(Ord. 25-2014. Passed 5-20-14.)