Auditors Issued 414 Citations for Public Records Violations in 2016
Columbus – State auditors issued 414 public records-related citations to 357 public entities in calendar year 2016, Auditor of State Dave Yost announced today, the first day of Sunshine Week.
The majority of citations stemmed from officials neglecting to attend state-required public records trainings, entities lacking public records policies or a failure to make the policy readily available to employees and the general public. Auditors routinely review public records practices during audits.
“Public records and transparency are not a matter of instinct. It requires training and that’s why it’s in the law,” Auditor Yost said. “When you take the public paycheck, you take the obligation to get trained. These documents belong to the people.”
While townships represented 16.7 percent of the 4,088 reports released in 2016, they represented 30.8 percent of the public record citations. Similarly, villages represented 8.7 percent of reports, but were responsible for 23.8 percent of citations.
- Townships - 16.7% of all reports released; 30.8% of all entities cited
- Villages - 8.7% of all reports released; 23.8% of all entities cited
- School Districts - 16.1% of all reports released; 7.8% of all entities cited
- Community Schools - 9.4% of all reports released; 5.6% of all entities cited
A total of 43 entities had multiple citations, with some receiving as many as four: the City of Ironton (Lawrence County), Clinton Township (Franklin County), Fayette Township (Lawrence County), Monroe Township (Perry County) and the Springfield Academy of Excellence (Clark County).
Both the Auditor’s office and the Office of the Ohio Attorney General offer public records trainings to public employees. More information about compliance requirements for Ohio’s public records laws is included in Auditor of State Bulletin 2011-006.
A spreadsheet of all public records citations from 2016 is available here.
Sunshine Week runs from March 12-18 and occurs every mid-March, coinciding with the National Freedom of Information Day on March 16.
** Note: The Warren Trumbull County Public Library was inaccurately cited by auditors for failing to get public records training in the initial release. A new management letter has been issued.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.