VALDOSTA — Every local government is required to designate a public records custodian and make that person's contact information readily available to the public. 

The Georgia Open Records Act allows the public access to almost all documents held by local government.

The Open Records Act defines public records as “all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, computer based or generated information, or similar material prepared and maintained or received in the course of the operation of a public office or agency.”

If a public document is withheld, the government agency or public records custodian must cite the code section of Georgia law exempting that document from being inspected or copied.

An open records request is made directly to the government agency’s custodian of records and can be either written or verbal, according to law.georgia.gov.

A response to an open records request must be given within three business days of the request; that response does not have to provide the requested document but could simply answer the request has been heard and is being processed.

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