Auditor: Not All Areas Following Ohio's Sunshine Laws
Ohio Auditor Dave Yost says a test of 20 counties and cities from different areas of the state shows about 40 percent are not fully following Ohio’s Sunshine Law. Yost says he's disappointed with the findings.
"We see so many people in local governments fighting to maintain and further that transparency but we also see places where the door is being shut and the curtains are being drawn. Barriers are being erected. And that’s just wrong. When government is not open but is closed, it is a short path for government to become our master instead of our servant."
Yost’s findings show Crawford County as well as the cities of Beavercreek and Bowling Green failed to track public records requests by date and fulfillment. Beavercreek City Manager, Mike Cornell, says the city received high ratings for financial reporting in their audit, but the state did offer them some guidance.
"So it appeared to be just simply that, a helpful process reminder from the state auditor to say 'hey you've got a fantastic process in place and here's a thought so that you know when something comes in and when something leaves as a record, history.' So, very beneficial and in fact we've already implemented that very subtle recommendation," says Cornell.
In Cuyahoga County, Yost says a lack of consistency across county departments on how public records logs are kept. He notes there is a lack of evidence that county officials attended public records training and the manual for those employees did not include public records training requirements.