Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Another lesson in Ohio Revised Code

For your information….


To whom it may concern:

Ohio Revised Code 121.22(C)

All meetings of any public body are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times. A member of a public body shall be present in person at a meeting open to the public to be considered present or to vote at the meeting and for purposes of determining whether a quorum is present at the meeting.

The minutes of a regular or special meeting of any public body shall be promptly prepared, filed, and maintained and shall be open to public inspection. The minutes need only reflect the general subject matter of discussions in executive sessions authorized under division (G) or (J) of this section.

In attempting to receive the recorded minutes from the meeting of September 13, 2005, I was notified that public release of said minutes has been denied by notice of a representative of the Village Council. This denial is a clear violation of R.C. 121.22(C). All minutes of a regular meeting of the public body, in this case, Village Council, are to be “promptly prepared, files and maintained and shall be open to public inspection”. The actions of Village Council violate this statute.

R.C. 149.43 directs that all public records be presented to the public within a reasonable time. In State, ex rel. Wadd v. City of Cleveland, the City of Cleveland was compelled to prepare and provide access to motor vehicle accident reports within eight days after the accidents occur. I believe that minutes of all Village Council meetings should be held to the same standard. There is always a concern that minutes, prior to review of the Village Council, may be in error. This should not, and does not, preclude the fact that these minutes are to be prepared for public inspection. Village Council has the legal ability to change these minutes to more correctly conform to the actual events of the meeting to which the minutes refer.

Refusing to allow the public to review minutes of Village Council meetings only fosters distrust between the public and the Village government and should be staved off early. Allowing thirty days to pass before allowing the public to review minutes of a public meeting is unconscionable. I ask that you change your stance and come in line with what the Revised Code directs.


William Marmet

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