Administrator says info on Cleveland’s public records policies isn’t for public consumption

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A public records administrator for the city claims in a sworn statement that information about how the city handles record requests and about how long it takes to turner over records is confidential – an assertion that an expert in public-records law describes as “laughable.” 

The statement by Kimberly Roberson, who has served as a public records administrator for nearly two decades, is included in a motion arguing that some information gathered in a lawsuit against the city was gathered unethically and should be suppressed. 

Roberson, who is not a lawyer, contends in her sworn statement that the “confidential information” includes “how long it typically takes the City to respond to public records requests, the Department of Law’s involvement with the requests, and the manner in which the City processes requests.” 

Attorney David Marburger, who co-authored a book on Ohio public records law in 2011, said state laws that require government records be open to the public would not provide an exemption for the information cited by Roberson.  

Material involving conversations between city lawyers and clients could be confidential, Marburger said. But a record showing how long it takes the city to respond to a request or how it responds to requests would not be confidential. Read more…