Anyone who wishes to file an open records request for information pertaining to Bryan County will now have the help of a designated open records officer.
In July, the Bryan County Commissioners appointed County Clerk Donna Waters as the designated county open records officer. The appointment came after changes were made to the Georgia Open Records Act during the 2012 Legislative session.
The commissioners in July also appointed Charlene Butler as the alternate open records officer. In the event of Waters’ absence, requests must be made to Butler.
Although open records requests can be made verbally, Waters said the preferred way is in writing, such as mail, fax or email. She noted requests made in writing are subject to the criminal and civil enforcement proceedings and penalties in the law.
There are also fees associated with open records requests, Waters added.
“Charges for search, retrieval and production of copies are allowed at the rate of the lowest paid full-time employee able to respond,” she said in an email. “You may also charge for the cost of redacting records by a full-time employee.”
Waters said the fee for copying records is 10 cents per page for letter or legal sized documents. If the estimated cost of producing records is over $25, the person making the request must be notified within three business days of the request of the estimated amount.
After a request is made, records must be produced within three business days if possible, Waters said. If not, a response must be made within the same time frame explaining when the records will be produced, she said.
“The three-day response period starts when the open records officer gets the request, not when another employee gets it that is not the actual open records officer,” she added.
While most documents are subject to the open records act, Waters said there are exceptions. Those exceptions, along with other regulations regarding the Georgia Open Records Act, can be found at http://sos.georgia.gov/archives/who_are_we/rims/best_practices_resources/open_records_act.htm.