MONROEVILLE — Village council Tuesday implemented a public records policy designed to increase accountability and improve the ability to retrieve public records.
Council unanimously adopted the policy as a result of the state attorney general’s changes to Ohio’s public record law.
Village Clerk/Treasurer Bonnie Beck said municipalities used to be able to deny requests if there were justifications for doing so. The justification must now be in writing, she said. The new requirements also order municipal officials to comply with public records requests within a reasonable time period.
Beck said one problem she faces is there are nearly 47 years worth of untouched village records. She added she’s not sure where all of them are.
“If someone came in and asked for a record from 1969, I wouldn’t have a clue where to begin looking,” she said.
To rectify the problem, council will establish a records retention committee comprising Beck, Mayor Sharon Miller, Solicitor Jim Barney and a Monroeville resident. The committee will be charged with cataloguing the village’s records.
If you live in the village and are interested in serving on the committee, call the village office at (419) 465-2922.
In other business, council voted unanimously to appoint Karen Reer to a vacant council seat. It was open because Theresa Fries’ four-year term has expired. She, along with, Reer, submitted letters of interest in serving on the seat.
Before appointing Reer, council voted 3-2 against reappointing Fries.
Fries said she wasn’t disappointed.
“I think new blood is good,” she said after the meeting. “I’ve already got things (to do) in the works. This will just free up some time.”
Reer lost to Beck in November’s clerk/treasurer’s race, 158 votes to 151.
“I’m excited,” Reer said about her chance to serve on council. “I’ve been wanting to get involved in the village.”
Reer said she feels service to the village is important.
“If we don’t take care of it who will?” she said.