Is Roswell’s new open records policy the end of anonymous public records requests?

March 28, 2023
1 min read
Is Roswell's new open records policy the end of anonymous public records requests?

ROSWELL — Residents wishing to make an anonymous open records request in Roswell could face additional hurdles after a recent policy change.

The Roswell City Council voted 5-1 Monday to approve changes to the city’s open records policy, requiring individuals and entities to provide verifiable names and addresses to receive public records.

Councilwoman Sarah Beeson voted against the measure, with all other council members and the mayor speaking in favor of the changes.

As previously reported, Roswell officials said they have been spending an extraordinary amount of staff time and resources responding to open records requests from entities that did not legally exist or provided false addresses. The changes to the policy were proposed in an effort to protect the city’s ability to collect charges for producing public records as necessary under State Law.

The approved changes to the open records policy now require public records to be mailed, emailed, or delivered electronically only to entities or individuals who provide verifiable names and addresses.

Those who wish to remain anonymous or use aliases may visit City Hall to inspect and copy public documents, paying for records and associated search, retrieval, redaction, and production or copying costs as provided by law.

Councilwoman Sarah Beeson, who opposed the measure, went on the record to tell residents that they can still make open records requests anonymously by using her name and address.

Her gesture offers an alternative for those who may be concerned about providing their personal information.

Georgia’s open records law, also known as the Georgia Open Records Act, provides that all state and local government records are open to the public, except for those specifically exempted by law. The law also allows for charges to be collected for producing copies or cost of producing the media on which the records or data are produced plus a reasonable charge for the search, retrieval, redaction, and production or copying cost, with no cost for the first quarter hour.

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