When you last visited a government office, did the office have a public records contact -- a person (or persons) who is responsible for receiving and responding to public records requests?
Public records contacts are required by law. All government bodies in Iowa are required to (1) delegate to particular officials or employees the responsibility for implementing Iowa's Public Record laws, and (2) publicly announce to whom requests for public records should be directed.
Let's face it. It is not possible for every employee to be familiar with every public record maintained by a public office, especially in today's complex world of large, multi-divisional government offices, electronic records, and confidential record requirements that can be confusing.
Public records contacts make sense. Placing the responsibility of managing public records requests in the hands of one or more designated public records contacts. . .
Facilitates prompt and lawful response to public records requests
Provides a point person in a public office to whom other employees can turn
Assures consistent responses and preserves resources
Enables certain employees to develop expertise, which they can use to
design strategies for organizing public records for optimal access
Simplifies for the public the process of seeking public records
Better protects the integrity of records which must be keep confidential
Public records contacts provide a golden opportunity for successfully managing public records requests - it's not just the law, it's good common sense.
Sunshine advisories are a general resource for government officials and citizens on Iowa's public records and open meetings laws – our "sunshine” laws. Local officials should obtain legal advice from their counsel, such as the city or county attorney.
The Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) is an independent board that the Iowa Legislature established specifically to address open meetings and open records-related matters. The IPIB provides information to the public and governmental entities on "sunshine" issues.
The IPIB, which has jurisdiction and authority to investigate and enforce Iowa's open meetings and open records laws, enables citizens to file a complaint if they believe that someone is violating these laws.
Citizens who have inquiries or complaints about public records or open meetings should contact the Iowa Public Information Board. Iowa Public Information Board.
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