NOT TO BE PUBLISHED
May 11, 1993
IN RE: Barbara Carlin/City of Ryland Heights
OPEN RECORDS DECISION
This matter comes to the Attorney General on appeal from the actions of the City of Ryland Heights in responding to Ms. Barbara Carlin's February 1, 1993, request for:
[T]he time and location of meeting or meetings at which the city commissioners expressed and voted as to direct the following to occur:
1- The boundaries to far exceed the petition of the residents on White's Rd. [sic], previously accepted by the city.
2- To have an ordiance [sic] of proposal [sic] annexation written.
3- Change the policy of the city since Sept. 5, 1978 and strictly adhered to as recently as 11-1-1990.
Ms. Carlin expresses the view that the events surrounding these decisions "should be a matter of city record via minutes of their meetings."
In a letter dated February 8, 1993, Mayor George E. Johnson responded to Ms. Carlin's request. He stated:
Your letter has been discussed with our City Attorney and we feel we are in compliance with the open records statutes.
I have neither the time nor the desire to research records and respond to your questions.
We are asked to determine if the City of Ryland Heights, through Mayor Johnson, violated the Open Records Act in responding to Ms. Carlin's request. For the reasons set forth below, we conclude that Mayor Johnson's response was consistent with the Act.
This Office has repeatedly recognized that the Kentucky Open Records Act was not intended to provide a requester with particular "information," or to require public agencies to compile information to conform to the parameters of a given request. See, e.g., OAG 76-375; OAG 79-547; OAG 81-333; OAG 86-51; OAG 87-84; OAG 89-77; OAG 89-81; OAG 90-19. Rather, the Act provides for inspection of reasonably identified records. Ms. Carlin's request may be characterized as a request for specific information, as opposed to a request to inspect reasonably described documents. She asks for information relating to the time and location of the meetings at which the city commissioners discussed certain subjects.
At page 3 of OAG 87-84, the Attorney General observed:
Public agencies are not required by the Open Records Act to gather and supply information independent of that which is set forth in public records. The public has a right to inspect public documents and to obtain whatever information is contained in them but the primary impact of the Open Records Act is to make records available for inspection and copying and not to require the gathering and supplying of information.
It is the opinion of this Office that Mayor Johnson properly responded to Ms. Carlin's request for information relating to the annexation ordinance by advising her that he was not obligated to research records in order to respond to her
questions. Ms. Carlin must expend her own time and energy in reviewing the written minutes or audio tapes of meetings of the commission to ascertain when these topics were discussed.
We decline to render a decision on the Open Meetings issue raised in the appeal. The Kentucky Open Meetings Act (KRS 61.805 to KRS 61.850) was substantially amended by the 1992 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly (1992 Acts, Chapter 162, HB 16). That legislation, which became effective on July 14, 1992, includes provisions which must be followed before this Office can render a decision.
A new section of the Open Meetings Act (KRS 61.846) requires that a person seeking enforcement of the Act first submit a written complaint to the presiding officer of the public agency suspected of violating the Act. The complaint must state the circumstances which constitute the alleged violation, and must state what the public agency should do to remedy the alleged violation.
The public agency is required to respond in writing within three business days after the receipt of the complaint, and notify the complaining party of its decision. An agency's response denying the complaining party's requirements for remedying the alleged violation must include a statement of the specific statute or statutes supporting the public agency's denial and how that statute or statutes apply to the specific situation at hand.
If the complaining party wishes the Attorney General to review the public agency's denial, he or she must send the Attorney General a copy of his or her written complaint, and a copy of the written denial, within 60 days from the receipt by the complaining party of that written denial by the public agency. If the public agency refuses to provide a written denial, the complaining party must provide a copy of the written complaint to the Attorney General within 60 days from the date the written complaint was submitted to the presiding officer of the public agency. In his letter to the Attorney General the complaining party must include a written statement as to how the public agency failed to remedy the alleged violation.
Ms. Carlin must follow the procedures outlined above and send this Office the required documents before we can treat the matter as an appeal under the Open Meetings Act and proceed to issue a decision.
Ms. Carlin may challenge this decision by initiating action in the appropriate circuit court pursuant to KRS 61.880(5) and KRS 61.882.
AMYE B. MAJORS
ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
Hon. George G. Johnson
City of Ryland Heights
Box 312-C, Rt. 5, Decoursey Pike
Ryland Heights, KY 41015
Ms. Barbara Carlin
Box 295A, Route 5
Ryland Heights, KY 41015