Tulsa County budget officials vote to require written requests of themselves for public records

The Tulsa County Budget Board voted 6-1 on Monday to require its members to complete a public records request form when they request information related to their meetings, the Tulsa World reported today.

The dissenting vote came from Tulsa County Assessor
Ken Yazel, who had refused to fill out the form to obtain from the County Clerk's Office an audio recording of the board's February meeting.

So why did County Clerk
Earlene Wilson want her fellow elected officials on the board to use the form?

"We want to make sure we provide these records as requested in a timely fashion," she said. "This would (help) solve our problem."

Yazel worries that filling out the form and giving it to the clerk will just slow the public's business.

Previously, all it took was a phone call or e-mail to receive a document, Yazel said.

Requiring public officials to file a written request to obtain records related to their own meetings and public bodies seems counter-intuitive at best and obstructionist at worst.

Those written requests will be public records. That could make for some interesting stories on which documents Tulsa County officials request from each.

Joey Senat, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
OSU School of Journalism

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the commentators and do not necessarily represent the position of FOI Oklahoma Inc., its staff, or its board of directors. Differing interpretations of open government law and policy are welcome.