ONA completes thorough revise of ‘Public Notice FAQ’

From Dennis Hetzel, president of Ohio Coalition for Open Government:  As most of you know, major revisions happened to Ohio’s laws involving public notices in 2011, and we still get a lot of member questions. This is a subject that never goes away, and that makes sense.

First of all, there is a reason why the word “public” is in public notices.

It is important for notices to be in places where people will see them and read them. They shouldn’t be the exclusive property of government, whether in print or online. Times are changing, but all the research in Ohio and around the country still shows consistently that the public wants and expects notices in newspapers as their first, preferred option. Notices certainly should not live exclusively on government websites.

Secondly, there is no shame at all in noting that revenue from these notices is important to the great majority of our newspapers. It is reasonable and proper to be fairly compensated for advertising requirements that are placed in statutes for sound, public-policy purposes.

Shortly after the law changed, we produced an FAQ (frequently asked questions) document that included the actual language in the specific statutes. This has helped a lot of ONA members address both problems and opportunities. Over the past two years, we only have made a few, modest changes.

. . . [W]e are announcing the first major revisions to the FAQ.

Ohio Coalition for Open Government is a member of NFOIC. –eds.