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  • Last modified 23 days ago (Sept. 8, 2022)

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Marion debates who will be in charge of openness

Staff writer

Marion city administrator Mark Skiles will serve as freedom of information officer, city council members agreed Tuesday.

With some members participating remotely The council voted 4-1 — Ruth Herbel opposed — to pass a resolution naming Skiles the freedom of information officer.

“Freedom of information” typically refers to the federal Freedom of Information Act, which Marion does not handle. Cities, counties, and the state manage records under the Kansas Open Records Act.

City code already specifies that the administrator is the freedom of information officer.

The job description for city clerk Tiffany Jeffrey posted on Marion’s website says the clerk “acts as custodian of the city’s seal and records.”

Mayor David Mayfield said that he had talked to Skiles and Jeffrey about the position and that Skiles “has agreed to be the FOI officer for the city.”

“I’m your point of contact now versus Tiffany,” Skiles said.

Herbel has had trouble getting information for city business, she said Tuesday.

She said she didn’t agree with the city administrator being the records officer.

“We have appointed a custodian of records,” she said. “She’s (Jeffrey) the custodian.”

City code says the treasurer, police chief, fire chief, city attorney and municipal court clerk are responsible for public records that are not on file in the city clerk’s office and that are kept and maintained by their offices.

Mayfield said he didn’t think the city ever had a freedom of information officer. Herbel told him it had.

Herbel asked whether anyone at the city had taken training about the state open records law. Jeffrey said she had.

Herbel said she planned to talk to the Kansas Coalition for Open Government about how the city handles records.

Mayfield rebuffed her and said the coalition “has nothing to do with us” and suggested she talk to the Kansas League of Municipalities instead.

The coalition promotes open and transparent government.

Last modified Sept. 8, 2022

 

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