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Open Book

From the Editor

We are pleased that you have received this first edition of “Open Book” and hopeful that the  quarterly newsletter will benefit and guide you. Compliance with Ohio’s Public Records Act and Open Meetings Law is important to public officials (who serve the people) and the people themselves (who benefit from transparency in local government).

We want this publication to become a go-to resource for information on legislative changes and judicial interpretations related to the state’s Sunshine Laws. It will include case notes on recent judicial decisions and legislative amendments, updates on the filing and disposition of public-records complaints with the Court of Claims, and feature articles on developments of significant interest. We will also include listings of upcoming Sunshine Law trainings, along with specifics on how to register and how local governments can arrange for trainings in their areas.

We aspire to involve our readers in the process of shaping the focus and content of our newsletter. If you have questions related to Ohio’s Public Records Law or Open Meetings Act, please feel free to convey them to us. In future editions, we will venture to answer questions of general interest.

If you learn of any case filings or issues in your area involving open government, please let us know. Ohio is a big state, and we can use your help to keep current with what’s going on across our 88 counties. To err is human, it has been said, and, from time to time, you may perceive something in this publication that is incorrect or requires clarification. If so, please let us know. We will always strive to get it right. Although we look forward to providing information and interacting with our readers, we emphasize that local officials should consult regularly with their legal counsel about any issues and questions of legal significance.

I have spent most of my career in public service, as an assistant county prosecuting attorney, a county commissioner, a city law director, and a village solicitor and administrator. Along the way, I have worked with local officials at the village, city, township and county levels of government and with school districts. Before my appointment as director of open government for Attorney General Dave Yost, I served for more than four years as his chief legal counsel during his tenure as Ohio’s auditor of state.

I have come to understand the significant challenges that local governmental officials confront regularly in serving Ohio communities – and to value that service. I’m hopeful that, through our efforts, we are able to facilitate compliance with Ohio’s Sunshine Laws for the benefit of government entities and the advancement of public access to their workings.

Please feel free to contact me at (614)-466-2859 or via email. I look forward to hearing from you.

Mark Altier
Director of Open Government
Ohio Attorney General’s Office