Information Requests Spark Possible County Changes

Public record requests in the past year have sparked a review of the Mahaska County process for receiving and complying with requests for information. Board chair Mark Groenendyk brought in six reams of paper and placed on the board table representing how many pages were included in one request last year.

Much of the county board of supervisor’s meeting dealt with the issue and possible changes. County attorney Andrew Ritland presented a draft proposal to the supervisors for their consideration, which would change how Freedom of Information Act requests are handled by county departments. The release of information is covered by Iowa Code Chapter 22, which gives the public access to public records.

Those records could range from emails to tax records to correspondence. The current process is not as clear as Ritland would like to see and feels the board should consider policy changes. He discussed that records declared confidential could be released depending on the record and situation.

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