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Supervisors Urge County To Fulfill Records Requests In Timely Fashion During Pandemic

05/22/20

Read the full article by Tarryn Mento in KPBS here.

Two San Diego County supervisors say they oppose the county’s decision to indefinitely delay responses to some requests for public government records during the coronavirus pandemic.

A local journalism association last week called on the county to resume fulfilling all requests and asked elected officials to respond to the change after multiple San Diego news outlets reported on the policy.

Under state law, documents compiled or created by government agencies while conducting the public’s business, such as emails and contracts, should be made available to residents upon request. Officials are required to respond to inquiries within a set timeframe. But county officials have cited an exception at least 31 times to requests for COVID-related documents and said it may not reply until after the region’s emergency declaration is lifted.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher told KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday that initial delays were understandable because of the large flood of requests and challenges caused by the pandemic, but now all requests should be fulfilled.

“I think we’re many months into (the pandemic) now and so I would be supportive of a change in posture and ensuring we’re fully complying with the records request,” Fletcher said.