‘Not comfortable’ releasing a public record?

I don’t normally have high blood pressure, but it definitely spiked today when I heard that a public official declined to give our newsroom a public document because he was “not comfortable” releasing it.

His reason? He didn’t want to release the record until his boss and the city manager were able to read it and give their input. While I understand his concern, this is a clear violation of the public records law.

The law dictates that even if a document is in draft form or has not been approved yet, it should still be available for public inspection.

Our newsroom eventually got a copy of the document, but it disappointed me that a high-ranking official thought he could withhold it because he felt uncomfortable. If comfort was the law of the land, who knows how many documents we’d be denied … probably a lot!

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