Roseburg City Council Monday voted to reduce the amount of city staff time spent on public records requests before the city starts charging certain requesters.
The Council approved a resolution Monday that amends city policies to reduce the amount of “free” staff time to a half hour for media requests from people requesting records for a matter that affects the person and is pending before City Council, as well as requests from the media, and from crime victims requesting copies of police reports.
The city had allowed up to an hour-and-a-half of staff time before charging individuals requesting public records in certain situations including media requests.
In addition, the city will not include City Councilors, city commission members and other government agencies in the list of parties exempted from the first half hour of staff time.
The vote was taken as part of an update to the city’s public records request policy that takes into account a Senate Bill that requires public bodies to acknowledge the request within five days, and respond to the request within 10 days.
City Recorder Sheila Cox said the reason for the change was that public records requests took a lot of staff time. Accordingly, one-half hour was a more reasonable time frame, she said.
Cox did not provide figures for the amount of staff time used in providing records, or costs to the city.