Claremore Daily Progress

Top Stories

August 16, 2013

Open records? Not so much

Public documents not available in county clerk’s office to newspaper or public

CLAREMORE —

Rogers County Clerk Robin Anderson’s office refused access Wednesday to the minutes and agendas of several county proceedings requested by the Claremore Daily Progress.
The Open Records Act requires public documents, including minutes, agendas, claims and records of county proceedings be made available for public inspection.
The Progress requested access to the public records of the Rogers County Finance Authority and Rogers County Educational Facilities Authority in the clerk’s office, during business hours.
Agendas and minutes are to be in a book and available to the public, according to state statute.
Title 19 of the Oklahoma State Statute outlines the duties of the county clerk, including “to record in a book for that purpose, all proceeding of the board,” and “to preserve and file all accounts acted upon by the board.” 
Purchasing Agent Nelson McSwain first refused the newspaper access to meeting minutes, agendas and the review of the $33.5 million bond documents.
McSwain, a former field staff auditor for the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector Office, is familiar with Open Records Act and acknowledged the files were required to be open to the public.
The bond serves to pay the debt in the Material Services Inc. lawsuit.  Voters approved a measure Tuesday to reduce the debt by approximately $4 million in the next five years.
Hesitant to answer questions on the matter, McSwain said, “I have to get permission to do that [provide access to the files].”
First claiming to not know where the files were located, McSwain later acknowledged it was not his decision to refuse access.
“I am just doing what I was told,” McSwain said.
At least one other record request has been refused in the past, according to McSwain.
The clerk’s office provided access to some of the 2012 files for the two county trust authorities, while refusing access to the more recent meeting minutes and agendas sought by the newspaper. 

Text Only
Top Stories
  • Students paint mural Catoosa High School artists paint mural to instill respect, inspiration

    Catoosa High School students, Devin Jackson and Spencer Plumlee, recently put the finishing touches on a mural that took more than a year to complete. 

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local attorneys fight to eliminate judgment

    Claremore attorneys — Thomas H. Williams and Jack E. Gordon Jr. —   filed a petition Tuesday to vacate the $27.9 million judgment awarded to Material Service Corp. 

    April 18, 2014

  • Rogers County Water Dist. 16 receives grant

    Rogers County Rural Water District No. 16 received a $24,999 grant Tuesday to help finance expansion of the district’s water supply infrastructure.  

    April 18, 2014

  • Grand Jury recesses until June 24

    The multicounty grand jury charged with investigating accusations of misconduct by Rogers County officials recessed Thursday until June 24-26, saying it needed to hear from more witnesses before returning a finding in the matter.

    April 17, 2014

  • Harps Food opens new store in Inola

    On April 23, Harps Food Stores will reach a new milestone in their company’s history with the opening of its 75th store. 

    April 17, 2014

  • helping children Tri-County CASA seeks additional volunteers as child abuse cases increase

    From 2010-2013, Oklahoma has seen an increase in children entering foster care. According to Oklahoma Department of Human Services reports, approximately 11,000 children are in state’s custody because of child abuse or neglect — 4,000 in the Tulsa area alone and more than 100 in Rogers County.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Judge refuses to dismiss Grubowski in DA suit

    A judge has denied businessman Myron Grubowski's motion to remove him from the defamation lawsuit filed by District Attorney Janice Steidley against sponsors of last fall's unsuccessful citizens petition for a local grand jury investigation of her  office.

    April 17, 2014

  • Controversial schools chief attracts crowd of opponents

    The field of candidates running for state school superintendent is unusually large — a sign of broad interest in what observers say is sure to be a referendum on the incumbent, Dr. Janet Barresi.

    April 17, 2014

  • Jennifer Hodges Claremont Elementary teacher named the winner of $2,500 classroom grant

    Jennifer Hodges, a fifth grade teacher at Claremont Elementary, has been named winner of a $2,500 grant through the Farmers Insurance Thank A Million Teachers program. The national initiative invites citizens to offer thanks to teachers, past and present, who have made a difference in their lives.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Commissioners hire outside counsel

    The Rogers County Commissioners hired outside legal counsel Monday to contest the $28 million civil judgment paid to Material Service Corp.

    April 16, 2014