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Faber releases first-year StaRS report

Lawrence County entities listed as non-compliant

COLUMBUS — In conjunction with Sunshine Week, Ohio Auditor of State Keith Faber announced over 2,000 reviews of Sunshine Law compliance are available on the Auditor’s StaRS website.

Faber launched the StaRS program in 2019, in an effort to promote government transparency and hold local governments accountable.

“Transparency and access to public information is pivotal to the success of self-governance and has been a priority of mine since I started in public service,” Faber said in a news release. “The StaRS program has allowed us to recognize local governments that go above and beyond when it comes to open government and bring accountability to those that could be doing better.”

Lawrence county entities listed as non-compliant were as follows:

• Buckeye Joint County Insurance Council was cited for not having a Board-approved public records policy or records retention schedule in place during 2019.

• Lawrence County Land Reutilization Corporation was cited for not having a records retention schedule readily available and for not having a copy of their public records policy displayed in a conspicuous place nor included in their policies and procedures manual.

• Mason Township was cited for the township’s elected officials not attending a required Certified Public Records training, or having a designee attend, as required due to deficiencies in internal controls over public record laws training procedures and monitoring.

• Union Township was cited for not having a public records policy or a public records retention schedule.

• Village of Athalia was cited for not having a records retention schedule and not being able to make it readily available to the public and did not have a public records policy. Also, each elected official did not attend a certified three-hour Public Records Training for each term of office as required. In addition, public notices were not provided for public meetings held to be able to determine if the village notified the general public and news media of when and where meetings were to be held as required.

• Village of South Point was cited after inspection of individual training certificates to determine whether each elected official or his/her designee successfully attended a certified three-hour Public Records Training for each term of office as required and attending Public Records Training.

• Washington Township was cited for not having their public records policy displayed in a conspicuous place in the public office, not having a records retention schedule and each elected official not attending a certified three-hour Public Records Training for each term of office as required.

• Windsor Township was cited for not having a records retention schedule and not being able to make it readily available to the public.

• Woodland Union Cemetery was cited for not having applications for record disposal submitted to the Records Commission. Old records had been destroyed by previous members of management without evidence that approval was obtained by the Records Commission. Also, the cemetery did not have written evidence that the public records policy was provided to the records custodian/manager. Additionally, there were two exceptions where no purpose was given for going into executive session and the cemetery did not notify the general public and news media of when and where meetings were to be held.

All StaRS results are available online at https://ohioauditor.gov/open/stars.html