Public Disclosure

Public Disclosure Manager Casey Mauermann provided on update on public records management during one of several Lewis County budget meetings.

So far this year, Lewis County Public Disclosure Manager Casey Mauermann and her staff have processed 814 public disclosure requests. 

At a county budget planning meeting Thursday, County Manager Erik Martin underscored the “critical” nature of finding someone to cover for the current Public Disclosure Manager in the event of Mauermann’s absence. 

The department will soon be hiring a new full-time staffer to assist Mauermann with her considerable volume of work. 

During the course of Thursday’s county budget meeting, Mauermann updated local elected officials and staff on the ongoing task of making public documents available via an electronic-based platform.  

Martin said it would be “beneficial” to purge some old records “according to law and according to schedule” that would eliminate the need for them to be searched. 

“They don’t have to be released, so we went further to these efforts,” said Martin. “The Board has had discussions about sort of a countywide program to make sure that everybody has the resources they need to retain records properly and not to retain records they don’t have to.” 

Mauermann, a former paralegal for the county prosecutor’s office, notified attendees that her unit — which is part of the Department of Risk Management — has fulfilled 814 requests so far this year, all of which were tracked through a records portal. Most of her requests, she added, are either 911 related or for the sheriff’s office.

Public records, it was noted, does not generate much revenue, as the service collected $212.83 to date in 2019, which at its current rate falls short of $463.00 that was earned last year. 

“We’re a little behind probably due to the fact that the majority of our records are in an electronic-based format, especially the sheriff’s office,” said Mauermann. “The county has it in its policy that if (the document) is less than $1 to produce, we will waive that fee.”

Budget Manager Becky Butler also suggested new ways Mauermann and her unit would soon begin making meeting minutes and resolutions available to the public. 

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(6) comments

Cinebarbarian

I've always heard it's only a hand full of people who generate this huge finical burden on the Lewis County Taxpayer with frivolous requests in hopes of getting a financial payment if the County does not respond in time. I'd like to see a list of who's doing all these requests and under what subjects. That would be an interesting story!

DevastationPackwood.com

Yes, unfortunately there are frequent flyers who abuse the public disclosure act. This is a growing problem, and is a strain on the county staff's limited resources.

Cinebarbarian

Evidently he’s not making enough as a wannabe musician / political activists.

DevastationPackwood.com

You're idea is a good one. Any written interaction whether PD request, letter, or e-mail is also subject to public disclosure. I would hope that the county could publish all of the requests and results of public disclosure on their website. I haven't re-read the law, but believe that it's possible to produce a list of requesters. I know that a private citizen or media could request such a list and publish it.

national

I agree with both of you. While there are certainly legitimate Freedom of Information requests being filed, I have no doubt that MANY of them are meant for little more than causing a nuisance. I believe that anyone filing an FIA request from a public agency should also have their own identities made available because they're using a publicly-funded resource to file the FIA papers in the first place.

Cinebarbarian

Ok then. Hey Chronicle, how about doing a PDR for the list of who's costing the county all this time and money? It would make an interesting story!

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