Claremore Daily Progress

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August 16, 2013

Open records? Not so much

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



Multiple requests for the records were then made by the Claremore Daily Progress directly to Anderson.
The Claremore Daily Progress asked Anderson why the files are not being made available to the public. She said the minutes were located on her computer.
She refused to pull the documents, stating she had to go into a meeting, but remained in the outer office. 
The agendas are used as a template for the meeting’s minutes, as a result, the original agenda is not saved and not available to the public, according to Anderson
At that point, Anderson said she would get the records if the request was put in  writing prior to public viewing. When questioned further, Anderson could not offer a consistent reason for why the documents have not been filed in the official books for public review.
Anderson claimed the office scanning and printing equipment has been down in the last week, preventing documents from being filed in the books.
However, the minutes requested were from two meetings — June 6 and July 1 — both more than a month prior to the equipment failure.
Anderson would not offer any explanation of why documents are not being filed into the public books of record. 
Anderson said the documents were available on the county’s website and the county Information Technology Director Brett Williston should be contacted for assistance.
All of the documents requested were not published on the county website prior to press time.
A fourth request was made regarding the files to be viewed in person at the clerk’s office. Anderson refused the request again and walked away.
Rogers County Commissioner Mike Helm was present during the discussion, but offered no assistance with the request for access to public documents.
“Any public official who willfully violates any provision of the Oklahoma Open Records Act, upon conviction, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment,” according to Title 51 of Oklahoma statutes.

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