Officials Brush Up on Ohio’s Open Records and Meeting Laws

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Local leaders and those in public office had an opportunity to learn more about Ohio’s Sunshine Laws and what role they play in adhering to the policies.

The Sunshine Laws promote transparency in government by providing access to government meetings and records.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office held training sessions Monday at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, Newport Branch.

“We added a lot of advice that we think gives them practical assistance in how to process requests, going above and beyond negotiating, using our mediation program,” said Jeff Clark with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

The laws, made up of Ohio’s open record and open meeting laws, are intended to shed light on how government works and make proceedings and records available to the public.

Several Youngstown Council Members attended the training to refresh their knowledge of the laws.

“A lot of things you forget, and it can get kind of confusing,” said Youngstown Councilwoman Annie Gillam, D-1st.

The presentation used real life examples to highlight what are considered public records and how to deal with record requests and open meetings.

About 30 seminars are held each year and they don’t just benefit those in public office. Niles resident Staughton Lynd is familiar with filing public records requests and understanding these laws is beneficial to the community.

“This act is not intended to make life easy for pubic officials. It is to give us as much transparency as possible in the way our government works,” said Lynd.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office also created the Yellow Book, an easy to read booklet outlining the Sunshine Laws.

For more information on Ohio’s Sunshine Laws, click here.

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