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County adopts Sunshine Law policy

St. Francois County Associate Commissioner Gay Wilkinson holds up the county's proposed Sunshine Law policy that has been used unofficially for months. During the county commission's Nov. 27 meeting, the policy was officially ratified.

A policy detailing how Sunshine Law requests are to be handled in St. Francois County was approved during the Nov. 27 meeting of the county commission, although the document has already been used as the unofficial county policy for some time.

Associate Commissioner Gay Wilkinson discussed the policy with Presiding Commissioner Harold Gallaher and Associate Commissioner Patrick Mullins prior to the vote, saying, “This is really not a change, we just have never gone through the process of adopting or ratifying the policy, so this is really just official approval of this form.”

Gallaher confirmed that the policy would be distributed to all of the county departments, as well as uploaded to the county website for the public.

The policy appoints the St. Francois County Clerk as the county commission’s custodian of records and requires that all Sunshine Law requests are to be addressed and delivered to the county clerk. The county clerk’s office will respond to all requests for access to or copies of a public record within the time period provided by statute. Any requests not made through the county clerk’s office may be delayed.

Unless otherwise provided by law, fees charged for 9 x 14-inch paper copies, or smaller, will cost 10 cents per page, along with the hourly fee for clerical staff of the office fulfilling the request. If research time is required, it will be billed at the actual cost to perform the research. The hourly rate charges will be the hourly rate, or equivalent, of the St. Francois County employee that will result in the lowest amount of charges for search, research and duplication time.

If research time is required, it will be billed at the actual cost to perform the research. The hourly rate charged will be the hourly rate, or equivalent, of the St. Francois County employee that will result in the lowest amount of charges for search, research and duplication time.

Fees for providing access to electronic records and paper copies larger than 9 x 14-inches, will not exceed the cost of copies, staff time — which should not exceed the average hourly rate of pay for staff of the public governmental body for making copies and programming, if necessary, and the cost of the medium used for the duplication.

Fees for records that require special expertise to duplicate will include the actual rate of compensation for the personnel required for duplication and if programming is required beyond the customary and usual level to comply with a request for records, the fees will include the actual costs of programming.

Finally, a deposit for the estimated cost of fulfilling a records request will be required prior to initiating the process.

The county commissioners voted unanimously to approve the county Sunshine Law policy.

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Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

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