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Boards made aware of new record rules

December 2, 2012
Morning Journal News

EAST LIVERPOOL - City Council committee chairmen and the heads of city boards will be cautioned to make sure they produce minutes from their meetings as required by law.

The city's records retention commission met this week for one of two required annual meetings and discussed the seriousness of complying with Ohio's Open Records Act.

The city was sued in recent years by a man who requested a variety of records from the police department which were no longer in existence. The city emerged the victor in that suit.

Law Director Charles Payne advised the commission there have been some changes in state law regarding public records and said he found training in open record laws offered by the state to have been beneficial.

"We've been responding to public record requests, and it's been going smoothly," Payne said.

Chairman Sherrie Curtis said the city has not been charging for copies of records as recommended by the state.

Councilman Russell Dray also attended the training and recommended all officials do the same, at least once.

Curtis said there has been some problem getting minutes from committees and boards, and it was agreed to ask Mayor Jim Swoger to issue a memo, directing those entities to comply and provide minutes to be archived.

Payne also suggested that, since council recently re-joined the Ohio Municipal League, it might behoove members to attend similar training sessions that agency offers at no charge.

He was asked to provide a schedule of those training sessions to Curtis, who said it might also be a good idea to hold a training session locally for area officials, saying, "I don't think everyone knows how serious this is."

The records retention commission is charged with making sure public records are disposed of legally, and Curtis said she hopes another "huge" disposal of water department records can be orchestrated, as was done in the past.

The department accumulates large volumes of paperwork, she pointed out.



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