March 11, 1993









IN RE: Linda Ritchie/City of Somerset






This matter comes to the Attorney General on appeal from the actions of the City of Somerset relative to Ms. Linda Ritchie's request to inspect a record in its custody. That record is identified as the report prepared by Geo-Trans, Inc., on the "suitability of the site of the Pulaksi County Land- fill." Ms. Ritchie hand delivered her open records request to Mayor Smith VanHook on February 15, 1993, and was advised by Mayor VanHook that the report "wasn't valid" until the 109 Board had reviewed it. He referred Ms. Ritchie to Mr. Rue Wesley, a member of the 109 Board, who told her that she could obtain a copy of the report at the February 18, 1993, meeting of the 109 Board.


Ms. Ritchie indicates that she never received a written response to her request, nor was she provided with a copy of the report at the February 18 meeting. She asks that we review the actions of the City of Somerset to determine if the City's actions violated the Open Records Law. For the reasons set forth below, we conclude that the City's actions constitute a violation of the Law.


KRS 61.880(1) sets forth procedural guidelines for agency response to an open records request. That statute provides:


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 action.


Ms. Ritchie submitted her request on February 15, 1993. To date, the City has failed to formally respond. Some eighteen days have elapsed since the date of her initial request.


The City of Somerset violated the Open Records Law to the extent that it failed to advise Ms. Ritchie, in writing, and within three working days of her request, whether the City intended to honor her request. The City is directed to immediately issue a written response to Ms. Ritchie.


The City of Somerset may challenge this decision by initiating action in the appropriate circuit court pursuant to KRS 61.880(5) and KRS 61.882.












Distributed to:


Hon. Smith VanHook


P. O. Box 989

Somerset, Kentucky 42501



Ms. Linda Ritchie

101 E. Langdon Road

Science Hill, Kentucky 42553