The Stark County Political Report has never heralded a press release of the sort reported on today as "breaking news."
But for those of us who want a more transparent government and for more and more Stark County citizens to be equipped to acquire the knowhow to make Stark County village, city, township and board of education governments more transparent, today's press release is both "good news" and "breaking news" that Ohio's recently re-elected attorney general is making Ohio Sunshine Law training available with the ease of Internet access.
Here is the entire press release (reconfigured for ease of blog viewing):
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 15, 2014
Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840
Attorney General DeWine Announces Sunshine Laws Training Now Online
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that his office’s Sunshine Laws Training, traditionally presented in-person at regional sites, is now also available as an online video course.
The course is available to anyone through the Attorney General’s website at no cost to the user and is approved for three hours of self-study Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit by the Supreme Court of Ohio.
“The public’s access to government is the cornerstone of a vital and participatory democracy, and Ohio’s Sunshine Laws are among the most comprehensive open government laws in the nation,” said Attorney General DeWine.
“Promoting open and transparent government is a priority of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and I hope that this new online format will increase convenience and accessibility to our Sunshine Laws Training.”
The Online Sunshine Laws Training breaks down the three-hour live training into thirteen separate lessons.
- Each lesson combines a video covering important topics under the Ohio Public Records Act or Ohio Open Meetings Act with a short quiz.
- Topics cover the length and breadth of the Ohio Sunshine Laws, from defining a public record to appropriate redactions before release.
- To complete the training, users must watch each video lesson in its entirety and correctly answer the quiz questions concerning the material covered.
- The training lessons can be completed at the user’s own pace, and the entire three-hour training does not need to be completed in a single sitting. Users are able to return to the videos they have completed if a specific topic is of particular interest. The online training is approved for CLE credit, as are live Sunshine Laws trainings, and can be completed at home or in the office.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office provides this training on the Ohio Sunshine Laws to elected officials across the state, providing elected officials and other public employees with information concerning public records law and compliance to help ensure accountability and transparency in the conduct of public business.
In the last four years, the Attorney General’s Office has conducted trainings in all corners of the state, drawing more than 5,300 attendees.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office will continue to offer live Sunshine Laws Trainings across the state.
The online training is available online at https://sunshinelaw.ohioattorneygeneral.gov.
A schedule of in-person regional trainings is available at http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/sunshinelawtraining.
This email was sent to email@example.com using GovDelivery, on behalf of: Ohio Attorney General 30 E. Broad St. Columbus OH 43215
The SCPR is highly impressed with DeWine in his having made this training available to the general public AFTER the November, 2014 election in which he was reelected by a comfortable margin.
The Stark County community of North Canton has been particularly troublesome in providing public records to its citizens.
Recently, apparently North Canton Council (though the SCPR knows of no formal action authorizing the act) through its law director Timothy Fox refused a citizen-requested mediation by the Ohio attorney general's office with North Canton officials on the citizen's public records request.
The SCPR has had difficulty with the Canton Joint Recreation Board (misusing, The Report thinks, an attorney/client privilege to deny information that the public should know) and with Massillon financial officials (in providing information not comporting with 21st century software standards).
Generally, Stark County subdivision officialdom has been diligent in complying to SCPR requests for public records.
Hopefully, licensed Stark County attorneys will do the training online for the continuing legal education credit they can earn and consider offering citizens pro bono legal services in obtaining 100% compliance with the law.