Mayor questions public records process

Bloomington (IN) Mayor Tari Renner wants elected officials, not hired staff, to have more say on disputed requests from the public for city records.

Renner’s call for more oversight stems from the city’s recent denial of a Pantagraph Freedom of Information Act request seeking details about the termination of Bloomington Police Officer Brenton VanHoveln, who allegedly falsified documents. The Pantagraph is asking the public access counselor in the state attorney general's office to review the city’s denial and require it to release the records.

“It’s not just transparency, it’s political accountability,” Renner said. “If ‘the city’ denied it, who is ‘the city?’ ‘The city’ needs to be elected officials. … Even, at the end of the day, if we say the vote is a ‘no,’ at least the elected officials decided it, not a department head and the city manager.” He said he would like to include a council review of public access counselor-level FOIA requests in transparency rules the city has already been working on. Continue>>>