Reporter finds documents waiting for her

LISBON – I went to three schools to request the superintendent’s evaluation.

The first school, Beaver Local, seemed to know I may be coming. The secretary at the front desk of the administration offices took my request and went in the back hallway. She returned shortly and told me he, which I assumed meant Superintendent Kent Polen, but could have meant Treasurer Robert K. Barrett, would be right out. Both men came out to greet me.

Barrett had the required evaluation already copied and simply handed it over. There were no questions asked regarding what the information may be required for and no hoops to jump through.

The same could not be said about the second school I visited Leetonia. I walked into the administrative offices and again gave my verbal request for the most recent superintendent’s evaluation of Rob Mehno. The woman at the front desk, who I later learned was Cheryl Almy, administrative secretary, offered that the treasurer was actually looking for that just the day before and they were uncertain if they had one.

She also went down a hallway and returned noting if I put my request in writing (something which is not required) they would try to put it together for me. Almy further offered when they got it together I could receive it by mail, pick it up or even have it emailed. It was a Tuesday and I asked if I could have it by the end of the week, a request she said would work.

Actually, I went out to my car and sent an email asking for the document. I received a reply from Almay letting me know they had received my request and I would hear from them shortly. The email containing the evaluation came the next day, although it was from May 2012 and for the 2011-12 school year. It may be possible that is the last evaluation performed by the board.

Finally, I went to West Branch schools seeking the same evaluation. Not familiar at all with the buildings, I had a difficult time finding where I should go to find the administrative offices. After circling two buildings and pulling on one door that looked like a possibility with no success, I decided to go into the high school office and ask for directions.

The first girl I asked directions from, who appeared to be a student, told me to speak to the secretary working at the other end of the counter and already helping someone else. After waiting my turn, I was given a visitor’s badge, asked to sign in and given directions to the middle of the building. Following signs with green arrows, I was able to negotiate the hallways fairly easily and found the superintendent’s office.

A woman who greeted me there seemed surprised by my request and noted she had never seen such a thing. She thought perhaps the board may have one and I agreed noting it should be in the superintendent’s personnel file. She then agreed if that was where it would be I needed to see someone in the treasurer’s office. I was sent one door down the hall.

There I repeated my request and the woman there was also surprised. She went down the hall and spoke to a man, whom I believe was Treasurer Dan Tel-zrow. He came out and asked about my request.

“Are you making a public records request?”

When I agreed I was he also asked for it in writing. When I explained it is not necessary to make such a request in writing, he explained he knows but wants it in writing anyway so he can be sure they are providing me exactly the information I requested. I was provided paper and wrote out a quick request with my cell phone number for questions.

The first woman I spoke to asked if I was a member of the public or if I was with someone. I told her that did not really make a difference either, but admitted I was with a company.

I received a return call the next day asking if I wanted it emailed, mailed or if I wanted to pick the information up. I was unavailable at the time of the call, but I returned the message the next morning and received the requested document by email by the afternoon.