Mohave County Board of Supervisors to review findings on public records requests

August 17, 2018

Mohave County staff will present to the Board of Supervisors its findings on public records requests next week.

During a regular meeting last month, District III Supervisor Buster Johnson initiated a discussion about how the county handles public records requests, stating that people were claiming the county was “not being quick enough on getting the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests back.” In a unanimous vote, the board directed staff to look into the costs, resources and time it takes to respond to public records requests.

On Monday, county staff will present its findings to the board, which required reviewing the number of requests and pages the county responded to over the last five years.

To compile the information, Assistant County Manager Yvonne Orr asked all county departments to compile their own data related to public records requests, according to county agenda documents.

“In order to accurately report back to the board at the Aug. 20, 2018 meeting, we are reaching out to all County departments to request a report that would include the following information, if available: name, estimated staff time, estimate amount of copies/material provided, amount of reimbursement for copies. Also for those departments such as IT, please provide the amount of time expended building the email search case,” she reportedly wrote in an email. “We realize that the departments do not typically track all of the aspects outlined above; however, please provide your best estimation of expended time or resources.”

The responses from each department varied.

Clerk of the Board Ginny Anderson stated that minimal staff time and materials were expended by the department on public records requests “since the majority of the Board/County records kept by my office are available to the public online with minimal assistance needed by staff to help the public access them,” according to county documents.

County documents show that Virlynn Tinnell, Clerk of Superior Court, stated that the department received more than 600 public records requests, 300 agency requests and then spent approximately 12 hours per day researching the requests.

County Manager Michael Hendrix was not immediately available to comment.

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