Defining Public Records
- All records are public unless they are exempt from disclosure under Ohio law.
- Public records are organized and maintained in such a way that they can be made available for inspection and copying.
- A record is defined to include the following: “a document in any format—paper, electronic (including, but not limited to business e-mail)—that is created, received by, or comes under the jurisdiction of OBR that documents the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations or other activities of the office.”
- Any person may ask to inspect and/or receive copies of public records.
- A public records request should specifically and particularly describe the record being sought. If it is not clear, OBR staff will contact the requester for clarification and will assist the requester in revising the request.
- The requester is not required to provide his or her identity or the use of the public record.
- Public records are to be available for inspection during regular business hours, with the exception of holidays. Records will be made available for inspection promptly.
- It is the goal of OBR that all requests for public records be immediately acknowledged and, if possible, immediately satisfied. If the request cannot be satisfied in one business day, the response to the requester will include the following: 1) An estimated number of business days it will take to satisfy the request, 2) an estimated cost of copies are requested, and 3) any items that may be exempt from disclosure.
- Copies, if requested, will be provided within a reasonable period of time.
Cost to Fulfill Request
- The charge for paper copies is 5 cents per page. The charge for a CD-R is $1.00 per disc. The charge will be communicated via invoice.
- OBR may require the requester to pay in advance for all copies as well as the cost of postage and mailing supplies
- There is no charge for e-mailed documents.
Denial or Redaction of Records
- If the requester makes an ambiguous or over broad request, the request may be denied, but the denial must provide an opportunity to revise the request by informing the requester of the manner in which the records are maintained.
- Any denial must include an explanation, including legal authority.
- If portions of a record are public and portions are exempt, the exempt portions will be redacted and rest released to the requester. Any redaction will be plainly visible and will include supporting explanation and legal authority for the redaction.
- OBR records are subject to retention schedules. Current schedules are available through the Ohio Department of Administrative Services website. Further, the Office of the General Counsel maintains a spreadsheet of all retention schedules.
Contact OBR for the full text of the public records policy or for any questions, concerns or public records requests.