Public Records Request Policy
The City of Painesville, as a political subdivision of the State of Ohio, is subject to the Ohio Public Records Act as found in Section 149.43 of the Ohio Revised Code. All requests made under the Act will be reviewed and responded to in a timely basis.
1. What is a Public Record? Public record means any record that is kept by any public office. The City of Painesville makes the assumption that everything in any file may be subject to the Ohio Public Records Act, except those items identified in paragraph 5 below. This includes paper documents, email, computer files and any other electronic data, photos or videos.
2. How to Request a Public Record? A request for records under the Ohio Public Records Act may be verbal or in written form. Public record requests can be started by calling the HR office at 440-392-5798 or submitting our Public Records Request Form and sending to [email protected] or the mailing address listed below. Once the request is filled, the appropriate department head or authorized personnel, will review the request and determine whether it falls within the Public Records Act.
3. What to Expect - A request may involve an individual wanting to inspect records or to receive copies of records. A valid public records request will be promptly prepared. The record should be made available for inspection by any person at all reasonable times during regular business hours, subject to certain exceptions as outlined by the Ohio Revised Code. The scope and volume of the request will dictate the timeliness of the prompt response. Cost should be determined from time-to-time so as to be in compliance with the statute. The requester will not be permitted to make their own copies of the request records. No original documents will be permitted to leave the control of the City of Painesville but may be inspected under supervision.
4. Types of Records - Public offices generally hold three types of records:
- Public records that are not subject to any exception, which must be released;
- Public records that are subject to an exception, which may be released if the public office chooses to waive the exception; and
- Highly confidential records the release of which is prohibited by law and must not be released, even if the public office would like to do so.
5. Exceptions to the Public Records Act - Exceptions to the Public Records Act are narrowly construed. If a record does not clearly fit into one of these exceptions, a public office must disclose the record. The following are some of the expressly stated exceptions to the Public Records Act and some of the more common exceptions falling within the “catchall” exception;
- Medical records (but excluding health records in personnel files);
- Trial preparation records;
- Confidential law enforcement investigatory records;
- Records the release of which are prohibited by federal or state law (e.g., attorney-client privileged information, tax records);
- Information pertaining to the recreational activities of a person under the age of eighteen