January 14, 2021

Duty Under Open Records After Elections and Appointments

Now that things have settled down at city hall, it is time to talk about open records and open meetings. Mayors have a statutory duty to distribute two publications from the Kentucky Office of Attorney General, “Guide to Kentucky Open Records and Open Meetings Act” and “Managing Government Records”, to all elected officials and newly appointed officials within 60 days of when the term of office begins. The clock started on January 1 for newly elected officials. For new appointees, the publications must be provided within 60 days of the first meeting of the legislative body after initial appointment. This requirement extends to special districts “located within their jurisdiction” regardless of whether it is a joint board, i.e. tourism commission or code enforcement board. In the case of a joint board, the mayor must distribute these publications to those board members appointed by the city. Generally, the mayor will assign a designee with the task, usually the city clerk, but it is important to remember that the duty to distribute the publications ultimately falls to the mayor.

Mayors are required to obtain a signed proof of receipt from each elected and appointed official to document that the publications were distributed. Cities must retain the signed proofs of receipt on file until the elected or appointed official leaves their official service with the city. After the publications are distributed, the mayor is required to file a completed and signed “Certificate of Distribution” form with the Kentucky Office of Attorney General.

For any questions about this or any other issue your city is facing, please contact the KLC Municipal Law Department at 859-977-3700.