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Open Records

All Kentucky local and state government employees, groups and affiliated organizations must disclose all of their records, with few exceptions. Before the Open Records Act was passed, only those with a stated “special interest” could view government documents.  Now, anyone can request any public record, unless exempted under the Open Records Act, for any reason, even if it leads to inconvenience or embarrassment to public officials or others.

Cities are required to disclose how they comply with the Open Records Act so that citizens are able to easily access records of interest to them. Actual guidelines for compliance are flexible, as long as they include certain minimum requirements:

1.    The principal office of the public agency and its regular office hours
2.    The title and address of the official custodian of the public agency’s records
3.    The fees to be charged for copies of public records
4.    The procedures to be followed for requesting public records

Exemptions to this rule apply to personal information, information that may lead to undue advantage among businesses, assessment questions for licensure testing, confidential scientific research, among others. While these are exempt from mandatory disclosure, they are not required to be withheld, and a public official can decide what is prudent as an open record.

Certain procedures are required of any individual seeking information through this act. A custodian - which is the city clerk in Kentucky cities - must be contacted in order to inspect any document.  Certain formalities must be in place between that official and the citizen requesting access in order to ensure the safety of any inspected documents, as well as the efficiency of providing them.