After the soundless 10 June 2013 Lowndes County Commission Work Session, Gretchen requested, County Clerk Paige Dukes promised and a few days later delivered, sound recordings on CDs of both that meeting and the next day’s Regular Session. LAKE thanks the County Clerk for those recordings. Gretchen has integrated the county sound with the LAKE video recordings and I have updated the Work Session blog post. But what about state open records law?
These CDs demonstrate the county does make recordings of the Commission meetings, at least of sound. The County Clerk told Gretchen the recordings are erased after the Clerk is finished with them. Hm, since such recordings are records of public meetings, wouldn’t that make them public open records? And if they are, wouldn’t destroying them be illegal?
According to state law on the GA Secretary of State’s website:
50-18-102. Records as public property; disposing of records other than by approved retention schedule as misdemeanor; person acting under article not liable.
(a) All records created or received in the performance of duty and paid for by public funds are deemed to be public property and shall constitute a record of public acts.
(b) The destruction of records shall occur only through the operation of an approved retention schedule. The records shall not be placed in the custody of private individuals or institutions or semiprivate organizations unless authorized by retention schedules.
(c) The alienation, alteration, theft, or destruction of records by any person or persons in a manner not authorized by an applicable retention schedule is a misdemeanor.
(d) No person acting in compliance with this article shall be held personally liable. (Ga. L. 1972, p. 1267, 7; Ga. L. 1975, p. 675, 7.)
I wonder what the county’s retention schedule as filed with the state according to state law says?