October 7, 1993






IN RE: Thomas M. Bertram, Esq./Mayor Mike Ratliff






This matter comes to the Attorney General as an appeal from the actions or, more appropriately, inactions of Mayor Mike Ratliff of the city of South Shore.


In a letter to Mayor Ratliff, dated June 11, 1993, Mr. Bertram, in part, requested that he be furnished with a copy of the minutes of the council meeting held on June 7, 1993. In a letter to Mayor Ratliff, dated August 13, 1993, Mr. Bertram stated in part that he had not heard from the mayor relative to his earlier request. Mr. Bertram's letter concluded with the following paragraph:


Please be advised that I am making a new request for minutes of all meetings of the city council since June 7, 1993 and for documentation as to the cities [sic] 'long term debts.' This request is made pursuant to KRS 61.870, et seq.


In his letter of appeal to this office, dated September 27, 1993, Mr. Bertram stated that no response had been made to his earlier letters to the mayor concerning his requests for copies of documents. He requests that this office take the appropriate action as provided by KRS 61.880.










KRS 61.880(1) sets forth the procedural guidelines for the response of a public agency such as a city to a request for documents under the Open Records Act. That statute provides in part as follows:


Each public agency, upon any request for records made under KRS 61.870 to 61.884, shall determine within three (3) days, excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, after the receipt of any such request whether to comply with the request and shall notify in writing the person making the request, within the three (3) day period, of its decision. An agency response denying, in whole or in part, inspection of any record shall include a statement of the specific exception authorizing the withholding of the record and a brief explanation of how the exception applies to the record withheld. The response shall be issued by the official custodian or under his authority, and it shall constitute final agency action.


Mr. Bertram requested that he be furnished with a copy of the minutes of the June 7, 1993 council meeting in a letter to the mayor dated June 11, 1993. In a letter to the mayor, dated, August 13, 1993, he asked for copies of the minutes of all meetings of the council since June 7, 1993, and for copies of the documentation of the city's long term debts. As of September 27, 1993, neither the mayor nor any city official had responded to those requests. If the mayor does not have custody or control over the records and documents requested he is obligated to notify the applicant as to the name and address of the records' custodian. See KRS 61.872(4).


The mayor violated the Open Records Act to the extent that he failed to advise Mr. Bertram, in writing, and within three working days of the receipt of his request, whether that request would be honored. The mayor is directed to immediately issue a written response to Mr. Bertram. See 93-ORD-31 and 93-ORD-33, copies of which are enclosed.










The mayor or the city may challenge this decision by initiating action in the appropriate circuit court pursuant to KRS 61.880(5) and KRS 61.882. The Attorney General shall be notified of any actions filed against the mayor or the city pursuant to KRS 61.880(3), but he shall not be named as a party to these actions or in any subsequent proceedings.







Thomas R. Emerson

Assistant Attorney General

(502) 564-7600







Copies of this decision

have been mailed to:



Thomas M. Bertram, Esq.

P.O. Box 40

Vanceburg, Kentucky 41179-0040


Mike Ratliff

Mayor, City of South Shore

South Shore, Kentucky 41175