Delaware County Jump Starts Open Records Law
Delaware County was so excited about Pennsylvania’s recently adopted Open Records Law that it decided to speed up the process.
The County Council adopted a resolution Tuesday to provide for early implementation of the law, effective immediately. The state law doesn’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2009.
“We are adopting the state’s new policy earlier than is required at the county level to expand our current policy to allow the public to benefit now from the changes,” County Council member Christine Fizzano Cannon said in a statement. “Council is committed to providing open access to public documents, which enables residents to have a better understanding of county government transactions.”
The benefits of the new law, Fizzano said, are the presumption that a record is a public record, a shift in the burden of proving a record is public and the ability to make requests electronically.
Exemptions to the Open Records Law include autopsy reports (with the exception of the name and manner of death), 911 tapes, written records of internal deliberations, information that would jeopardize computer security and personal information such as homes addresses and social security numbers, according to the statement.
The resolution establishes County Clerk Anne Coogan as the open records officer. The new open records policy is posted on the county’s Web site and a request form is also available.
— Gina Passarella, Senior Staff Reporter