The City of Dayton is committed to openness as a foundation for a better informed citizenry, which leads to better government and better public policy. It is the policy of the City of Dayton to strictly adhere to the state’s Public Records Act. All exemptions to openness are to be construed narrowly and any denial of public records in response to a valid request must be accompanied by an explanation, including legal authority, as outlined in the Ohio Revised Code. If the request is in writing, the explanation must also be in writing.
Section 1. Public Records
The City of Dayton, in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code, defines public records as including any document, device, or item, regardless of physical form or characteristic, including an electronic record, created or received by or coming under the jurisdiction of the City of Dayton which serves to document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the City of Dayton, unless exempt from disclosure under Ohio law.
Section 1.1 Maintenance of Records
It is the policy of the City of Dayton that, to the extent required by Ohio law, records will be organized and maintained so that they are readily available for inspection and copying. Record retention schedules should be updated regularly.
Section 2. Responses to Requests
Although no specific language is required to make a request, the requester must at least identify the records requested with sufficient clarity to allow the public office to identify, retrieve, and review the records. If it is not clear what records are being sought, the records custodian must contact the requester for clarification, and should assist the requestor in revising the request by informing the requestor of the manner in which the office keeps its records.
The requester does not have to put a records request in writing and does not have to provide his or her identity or the intended use of the requested public record. It is the City’s policy to generally not request this information.
Public records are to be available for inspection during regular business hours, with the exception of published holidays. Public records must be made available for inspection promptly. Copies of public records must be made available within a reasonable period of time. “Prompt” and “reasonable” take into account the volume of records requested; the proximity of the location where the records are stored; and the necessity for any legal review of the records requested.
Each request should be evaluated for an estimated length of time required to gather the records. Routine requests for records should be satisfied immediately if feasible to do so. Routine requests include, but are not limited to, meeting minutes (both in draft and final form), budgets, salary information, forms and applications, personnel rosters, etc. If fewer than 20 pages of copies are requested or if the records are readily available in an electronic format that can be e-mailed or downloaded easily, these should be made as quickly as the equipment allows.
All requests for public records must either be satisfied or be acknowledged in writing within three business days following the office’s receipt of the request. If a request is deemed significantly beyond “routine,” such as seeking a voluminous number of copies or requiring extensive research, the acknowledgement must include an estimate of the number of business days it will take to satisfy the request and an estimate of the cost if copies are requested.
Any denial of public records requested must include an explanation, including legal authority. If portions of a record are public and portions are exempt, the exempt portions are to be redacted and the rest released. If there are redactions, each redaction must be accompanied by a supporting explanation, including legal authority.
Section 3. Costs for Public Records
Those seeking public records will be charged only the actual cost of making copies. The charge for letter size, black and white paper copies is 6 cents per page. The charge for downloaded computer files to a compact disc is $1.00 per disc. There is no charge for documents e-mailed. Requesters may ask that documents be mailed to them. They will be charged the actual cost of the postage and mailing supplies.
Section 4. E-mail
Documents in electronic mail format are records as defined by the Ohio Revised Code when their content relates to the business of the office. E-mail is to be treated in the same fashion as records in other formats and should follow retention schedules.