PUBLIC RECORD OF THE DAY: New watchdog feature begins Saturday

BY JOE WESSELS, EDITOR
Loveland Local News

LOVELAND, Ohio — Public records are a critical part of keeping government officials accountable. Journalists, citizens, politicians, activists and others routinely seek records kept by government entities to learn how their elected officials are doing the job citizens expect them to do.

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©2020 Loveland Local News/Joe Wessels Joe Wessels is the editor, founder of Loveland Local News.

We’ve all known a politician or a bureaucrat to tell a fib or two. While we do not expect this to happen or like it when we find out about it, it’s our open meetings and public records laws keeping them, let’s say, more honest than maybe they’d be if, say, there wasn’t a document there to keep ’em on the up-and-up.

Though neutered in some ways in recent years (and thankfully, bolstered in a few minor other ways), Ohio has been long considered by journalists, government watchdogs and First Amendment attorneys to have a liberal open meeting/open records or “Sunshine Laws” policy when it comes to what citizens (or even out of state persons) can request from an Ohio government – whether it is the state, a township, village, city, fire district or school district.

Is it a hassle for government officials to fill these requests? Most certainly. Does it take away from the time they could be doing other things – like, say, um, the job they were elected or hired or appointed to do? Zero doubt. However, keeping our government open and transparent is not only the job of those in these powerful positions – it’s the citizens’ job, too. That includes journalists. And that’s why these laws are important.

Loveland Local News is beginning the “Public Record of the Day” section which will highlight a randomly-selected (and maybe timely or newsworthy) public record we have received through a public records request (or someone else received through the same method and shared with us).

Hopefully, this feature will be helpful, insightful, intriguing, and, most of all, interesting. If you have something you are wondering about or want to know more about public records, send us an email at tips@lovelandlocalnews.com or call or text us at (513) 899-NEWS (6397). You can also read more on the Ohio Attorney General’s Ohio Sunshine Laws website.

If you have an opinion you’d like to include on our site, please submit here. You can also send us public records you have found and would like to share.

Loveland Local News looks forward to hearing from you.

Last Updated on June 14, 2021 by Joe Wessels

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Loveland Local News is Loveland, Ohio's only standards-based, locally-owned, community news organization striving for accurate, fair and objective watchdog reporting about Loveland, Ohio and surrounding neighborhoods.