Public Records Policy

Wayne Township, Butler County Ohio hereafter referred to as the Township, acknowledges that it maintains many records that are used in the administration and operation of the Township.  In accordance with state law and the Wayne Township Records Commission, the township has adopted Schedules of Records Retention and Disposition (RC-2) that identify these records.  These schedules identify records that are stored on a fixed medium that is created, received, or sent under the jurisdiction of the Township and document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the Township.  The records maintained by the Township and the ability to access them are a means to provide trust between the public and the Township.

Scope

The fiscal officer is to be the custodian of all records maintained with the assistance of each department within the township. 

The period of time for which the Township stores or maintains records was determined by assessing the administrative, legal, fiscal and/or historical value of the records to the Township, efficient business practices, and by reviewing the suggested retention periods developed by the Local Government Records Program for the Ohio Historical society.  

Definitions

  1. Records.  The Township uses the definition of “records” contained in Ohio Rev. Code de 149.011 (G).
  2. Public Record. The Township uses the definition of public records contained in Ohio Rev. Code 149.43 (A) (1).
  3. Redaction.  The Township uses the definition of redaction contained in Ohio Rev. Code 149.43(A) (11).
  4. Medical record. The Township uses the definition of medical record contained in Ohio Rev. Code 149.43(A) (2).
  5. Trial preparation record.  The Township uses the definition of trial preparation record contained in Ohio Rev. Code 149.43(A) (4).
  6. Firefighter means any regular, paid or volunteer, member of a lawfully constituted fire department of a municipal corporation, township, fire district or village.
  7. EMT means EMTs-basic, EMTs-1 and paramedics that provide emergency medical services for a public emergency medical service organization.  “Emergency medical service organization, “”EMT-basic, EMT-I, and “paramedic” have the same meanings as in section 4765.01 of the Revised Code.

Fees

The Township, in accordance with Ohio Rev. Code 149.43(B)(6), may require that the requester pay in advance the cost involved in providing the copy of the public record, and has established the following fees for providing copies or reproductions of public records maintained by the Township. 

For photocopies of either letter or legal size documents, the fee shall be ten (10) cents  

per page. The cost for oversized copies that need to be made will be the actual cost of the reproduction. For tapes to be copied, it will be $10.00 or cost of tape. 

There may be instances when the requested records may be made available upon request.  When records request are made the person who takes the written request will give an

Availability

A.  All public records maintained by the Township shall be promptly prepared and made available for inspection to any person within a reasonable amount of time.                   Prompt and reasonably 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 requested records. Township records will be organized and maintained so that they are readily available for inspection and copying. Record retention schedules will be updated regularly and posted whenever the Township posts its Public Records Policy. No record shall be removed, changed, modified, or destroyed except by a Township employee in the performance of his or her official duties and as authorized under state or federal law.

B.   Individuals requesting access to inspect public records and/or receive copies of public records are not required to reveal their identity or reason for their request. The requester must at least identify the records requested with sufficient clarity to allow the Township to identify, retrieve, and review the records. The Township may ask the requester to voluntarily complete a written request explaining or identifying the records they wish to inspect and/or receive copies of, particularly if it would enhance the ability of the Township to identify, locate, or deliver the requested public records. The Township will first advise the requester that a written request is not mandatory. In no event shall an individual be denied access to inspect and/or obtain copies of public records based on their refusal to identify themselves or complete a written request. 

C. The Township does not limit the number of public records that it will make available to a single person, and does not limit the number of public records that it will make available during a fixed period of time. 

D.  The Township will either satisfy record requests in a reasonable time or will acknowledge records requests in writing – or e-mail if provided- within three business days following the receipt of the request. Routine requests for records will be satisfied as soon as practicable(e.g. meeting minutes, budgets,  and salary information can be more quickly produced than records that require research, compilation, and redaction.) Requests beyond “routine” including requests for voluminous number of copies or requiring extensive research will be acknowledged as soon as practicable with the following information:

  • The estimated number of business days it will take to satisfy the request, the estimated cost if copies are requested: and an explanation of any item within the request that may be exempt from disclosure.  
  • The Township has not established a fixed period of time before it will respond to a request for inspection or copying of public records. 
  • The Policy does not allow a person seeking a copy of public record to make copies of the public record.

If a requester makes an ambiguous or overly broad request or has difficulty making a request for copies or inspection of public records and the Township cannot reasonably identify what public records are being requested, the Township may deny the request, but will provide the requester an opportunity to revise the request by informing him or her the manner in which the Township records are maintained and accessed.

With the exception of Personnel Records for current and past employees of the Township, requests for the inspection and/or copies of public records shall be directed to the office or department that maintains the record. The township has established general Schedules for Record Retention and Disposition (RC-2) for the following: 

  • Office of the Township Fiscal Officer
  • Administration
  • Fire/EMS Department
  • Zoning
  • Roads, Maintenance, and Cemetery

The Fiscal Officer may be contacted by phone 513-783-3126 or e-mail fiscalofficer@waynetownship.net

A message may be left with name, contact information and brief request at 513-424-9661 if no one is physically at the township office to take the record request. Requests for records that are not maintained, or records that are prohibited from release pursuant to state or federal law, are processed in the following manner:

           If the Township receives a request for a record that it does not maintain or the request is for a record which is no longer maintained, the requester shall be so notified in writing that one of the following applies:

  1. A request involves records that have never been maintained by the Township: or
  2. The request involves records that are no longer maintained or have been disposed of or transferred pursuant to applicable Township Schedules of Record Retention and Disposition (RC-2): or
  3. The request involves a record that has been disposed of pursuant to an Application of the One-Time Records Disposal (RC-1).

          If the record that is requested is prohibited from release due to applicable state or federal law, the responsible Township employee shall respond to the requester, citing the applicable state or federal law.

          If the record that was requested is not a record used or maintained by the Township, the requester will be notified that in accordance with Ohio Public Records law, the Township is under no obligation to create records to meet public record requests.

        The Township will not provide records that do not exist at the time of the response to Public records request, or records that are acquired after a response to a request is complete.

Media types/Distribution of Records

        If a person requests a copy of public record, the Township shall permit the requester to have the public record duplicated on paper or upon the same medium which the Township maintains the public record, or upon any other medium on which the Township determines the record can reasonably be duplicated. The request shall be acted upon and a copy of the public record prepared within a reasonable period of time.  Fees shall apply in accordance with the fees established in this policy.

         Upon a request made in accordance with the Public Record Law and subject to the provisions of choosing a duplicating system, the Township shall transmit a copy of a public record to any person by United States mail or by any other means of delivery or transmission within a reasonable period of time after receiving the request for the copy. The Township may require advance payment for the cost of postage or the cost of transmission and for other supplies used in the mailing, delivery or transmission.

Personnel and personal information

The Township Trustees are responsible for the personnel management function for the Township. 

To better facilitate requests for inspection or information and/or copies of records involving current or past employees of the Township, inquiries for personnel files and personal information shall be directed to the fiscal officer who will notify the Trustees of the request.

To the extent practicable, current and past employees should be notified in the event that a request has been made to inspect or obtain a copy of their employment related records. Current and past employees have the right to be present during the inspection and if they so request, a duplicate copy of any record requested at no charge.

 Exempted and/or restricted information:

In accordance with state and federal law, Social Security Numbers are exempt from the Public Records Act.  Public records containing Social Security Numbers will have that information redacted prior to their release.

In the event a request is made to inspect and/or obtain a copy of a record maintained by the Township whose release may be prohibited or exempted by either state or federal law, the request will be forwarded to the Township’s legal counsel for review.  The person submitting the request will be advised that their request is being reviewed by legal counsel to ensure that protected and/or exempted information is not improperly released by the Township.

Records, whose release is prohibited or exempted by either state or federal law, shall not be subject to public inspection.  The following represents a partial list of records that may be maintained by the Township, but that will not be inspected or copied:

  1. Medical records—Ohio Rev. Code 149.43(A)(1)(a)
  2. Trial preparation records—Ohio Rev.Code 149.43(A)(1)(g)
  3. Criminal background and other law enforcement 
  4. Firefighter and EMT residential and familial information –Ohio Rev.Code 149.43(A)(1)(p) 
  5. Home addresses of Township employees, unless the employee is subject to a residency requirement.
  6. E-mails that do not document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the Township.
  7. Information related to and maintained in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Health Information Portability and Accountability (HIPAA). Those statues require that qualifying personal medical information be kept separate from regular personnel information, and maintained in a secured area. Such information may be released only to:
  • Supervisors and managers in order to provide information regarding work restrictions.
  • First aid or safety personnel if the disability would require treatment or procedures related to the disability.
  • Government officials investigating compliance with ADA, FMLA, and HIPAA provisions.
  • With respect to Bureau of Workers’  Compensation injury funds or in compliance with workers’ compensation laws: 
  •  Insurance companies that require medical examinations to provide health or life insurance for the employee.

Redacting exempted records /procedure

A redaction is denial of a public records request, unless state or federal law authorizes or requires the redaction.   Therefore, the Township will notify the requester of any redaction or make the redaction plainly visible.  Remaining public information will be provided.

When a redaction is made to a requested public record, the township will provide the requester with an explanation, including legal authority, setting forth why the information was redacted.  If the initial request was provided in writing, the explanation also shall be provided to the requester in writing

Procedure for releasing redacted records:

After reviewing the requested record and determining that it contains non-releasable information, the releasing employee shall make a copy of all pages containing the excluded information. The date and initials of the person releasing the information and the name of the requester ( person seeking the information if they will provide their name) on the reproduced page. The person shall then color over the restricted information on the reproduced copy with a black marking pen, or white-out in a neat manner.Reproduce a copy of the page with the redactions; the resulting copy shall be the page that is released to the requester. 

The first reproduction page, with the original redactions made, is the work sheet. It shall be attached to the original record, and maintained in accordance with the retention period established for the original document.

If a request is made for an electronic record, and the record contains protected information, the record will be printed, and the exempt information redacted according to the policy of redaction of records listed in this policy.  Protected information will not be redacted electronically.

 American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance

The Township and its employees will facilitate requests made by all persons, regardless of handicap or disability.  Employees authorized to release public records will make all reasonable accommodations to ensure that public access is not denied based on a handicap or disability.

Posting

This Policy will be posted in all Township Buildings- township hall, maintenance building, and fire station.   This Policy may also be posted on the Township website.  The Township will incorporate this policy into all handbooks or policy manuals furnished by the Township to its employees.

 Training

All elected officials or their designees will attend the public records training approved by the Ohio Attorney General.