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Auditor finds issues with public records requests

Auditor finds issues with public records requests

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- An audit of some local government's policies for open records shows there's still a lot of work to do.

Auditor of State Dave Yost's office looked at 20 city and county governments across the state. They found issues in eight of them.

"I would say I was disappointed," Yost said.

Yost announced his intention to do the audit during Sunshine Week in March. Staffers from his office looked at how each of the local governments handled requests for public records.

Issues were found in three of the eight county governments they looked at: Allen County, Crawford County, and Cuyahoga County. Ashtabula, Clermont, Tuscarawas, Washington, and Williams Counties all got clean records.

The biggest issues came in Cuyahoga County where Yost's office found some departments didn't save some sent e-mail responding to records requests and some government employees had no public records training.

"If there's any place in Ohio that I would have hoped to be striving to be the best of the best it would be Cuyahoga County and that's not what we found," Yost said.

Problems were also found in the cities of Beavercreek, Bowling Green, Elyria, Harrison, and Portsmouth. The cities of Ashland, Canton, Marysville, Springboro, Struthers, Urbana, and Willoughby Lakes were found to be issue-free.

The most common issue found in all the audits was a lack of a system to track when requests came in and when they were responded to.

"When government is not open but is closed it's a short path for government to become a master instead of a servant," he said.

Yost hopes to expand the checks to 40 local governments next year.

 

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