Sunday, October 24, 2004

Forum on public records law Wednesday



By Jennifer Edwards
Enquirer staff writer

SHARONVILLE - About 100 public officials and others are expected to gather Wednesday to discuss why many local government agencies have been inconsistent about honoring requests for public documents.

IF YOU GO
The Ohio Newspaper Association is collaborating with the Ohio State Attorney General on 11 Sunshine Law forums for public officials and citizens.

Cincinnati's session takes place 1:30 to 4 p.m. Wednesday at Great Oaks Police Academy at Scarlet Oaks Career Development Center at 3254 E. Kemper Road.

Those who cannot attend can access information on Ohio's public records and meetings laws online at www.ag.state.oh.us.

A forum from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the Great Oaks Police Academy at Scarlet Oaks Career Development Center, 3254 E. Kemper Road, will review Ohio's public record and open meeting acts. The forum is open to the public.

The forum is one of 11 scheduled this year by the Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Ohio Newspaper Association. The forums follow an April 21 audit of public agencies that found only half of requests for public records were granted promptly and without unnecessary conditions, such as a written request.

"I feel very strongly that openness in our government is critical to our democracy," Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro said in a statement issued Friday.

Without identifying themselves, more than 90 people from 43 newspapers - including The Enquirer - radio stations, the Associated Press and others approached public agencies in all 88 counties. They asked for six documents, such as an expense report for the city manager and the police chief's salary.

Invitations were sent to about 350 local government offices, said Kim Norris, spokeswoman for Petro.

As of Friday, 88 people had confirmed attending

E-mail jedwards@enquirer.com.




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