Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

News

January 9, 2014

Resident alleges city official violated public access laws

GREENSBURG – For the second time in two months, Greensburg resident Hershel Houk plans to file a formal complaint with a state agency alleging that Greensburg officials are violating public access laws.

Houk in November filed a complaint with the Indiana Public Access Counselor alleging that Clerk-Treasurer Bridgett Weber on Nov. 8 in a phone conversation denied him access to records concerning Kathy Reynolds, the former Greensburg planning director, who had been let go by Mayor Gary Herbert in March 2012. Houk previously had requested information in writing.

The Public Access Counselor is a state-funded office that provides advice and assistance concerning Indiana’s public access laws to the public and government officials and employees.

Weber, in her response to Houk’s complaint, wrote that she did not immediately provide the information because she had to first verify what information she was allowed to release, and that Houk filed the complaint before she could respond.

In his ruling, Public Access Counselor Luke Britt said he could not determine whether Weber had violated the Access to Public Records Act, but encouraged her to produce the employee records she was allowed to release as soon as she could.

“In the event the clerk-treasurer outright denied your request for all information relating to the employee during the November 8, 2013 conversation, the clerk-treasurer would have been in violation of the Access to Public Records Act. I cannot state conclusively if that was the case,” Britt told Houk in his reply.

“You filed your formal complaint only seven business days after the conversation regarding the personnel file. Seven days is well within the reasonable time frame for an agency to produce requested records. Therefore, if the clerk-treasurer was merely trying ‘to find out’ if the information could be released, as she alleges, then no violation would exist.”

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