City can’t keep up with records request with current staffing
MONROE - The city asked the City Council at a recent meeting to consider reinstating the city clerk position, in part because the amount of public records requests the city is receiving each year has been on the rise.
The city hasn’t had the funding in recent years to fund a city clerk, city administrator Gene Brazel said. This has shifted the burden of responding to records requests to other city employees who already have full-time roles in other departments.
“Because we don’t have a dedicated person to do this, it takes away from other things that they need to do,” Brazel said.
State law requires the city to respond to all public records requests it receives as per the Public Records Act.
Currently, parks and recreation administrative assistant Denise Jacobsen has been the primary person responding to records requests. This year Jacobsen has spent 295.8 hours handling requests. Brazel has spent 96 and IT manager Denise Bremner has spent 60.
Mayor Robert Zimmerman acknowledged at the meeting that the trend of requests received is only rising.
Hours spent on records requests in 2009 was 45, in 2010 it was 151 and in 2011 it was 734, according to city records.
Zimmerman said funding a city clerk could cost the city upward of $84,000 and suggested the salary could be paid for by a 4.3 percent increase in the property tax.
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