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Tovo proposes centralizing Council open records requests

Thursday, June 28, 2018 by Jack Craver

Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo says there has to be a better way for City Council offices to deal with the frequent open records requests they receive. Frequently, she said, the records requested are emails relating to a certain subject. State law, however, requires that email addresses in public records be redacted, meaning that her staff not only has to compile large numbers of emails, but go through each message and redact any email address. Tovo noted that state law does not require redacting phone numbers. Tovo said that a recent records request took up 60 hours of her staff’s time and likely took up an equivalent amount of time for other Council members’ staff, since the same request was made of each Council office and the great majority of the emails targeted by the request were emails that had been sent to every member. The current system, said Tovo, is duplicative and a major waste of taxpayer resources. She has therefore authored a resolution that asks city staff to develop a centralized public information request system that will deal with all open records requests to Council offices, potentially including dedicated full-time staff.

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