Dear Council members and supporters:
Matthew Blessing, the chair of the state Public Records Board, has just released to me the attached statement, in response to the verified complaint filed by the Council early this week. The statement says the Board intends to revisit the agenda items from its Aug. 24 meeting that were the subject of our complaint.
... I thank the Board for its response and welcome the opportunity this creates to rethink changing this language, especially in light of the way that it has been broadly interpreted by others in state government as granting authority to destroy certain records.
Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council
December 17, 2015
STATEMENT CONCERNING PUBLIC RECORDS BOARD’S CONSIDERATION
OF TRANSITORY RECORDS
When the Public Records Board issued the agenda for the August 24 meeting, we anticipated addressing a number of items which we believed to be relatively routine and uncontroversial. It has become clear in the past few weeks that there is considerable interest in some of the items that were included in the nine page index attached to the meeting agenda. However, public concern over the management of transitory records has led the board to reevaluate the matter.
Part of our goal as the Public Records Board is to strike a balance between ensuring open and accessible government records and setting reasonable requirements on governmental bodies and officials relative to the retention of records. Our default position is, of course, toward transparency. Given the concerns that have been expressed regarding our decisions at the August 24 meeting, we believe it is in everyone’s interest to revisit that discussion about transitory records with clear notice to the public of the intent to address that issue.
Thus, the board will revisit actions taken relative to item number 4(a)(ii), index # 103 on the agenda for the August 24 meeting, and will place those items on a detailed agenda for an upcoming meeting. We hope that this will alleviate any need for the public to suffer the cost of any litigation relating to the verified complaint that was filed with the Dane County District Attorney.
Chair, Public Records Board
Phone: (608) 264-6480
CC: Georgia L. Thompson, Executive Secretary of the Public Records Board