Constantine signs order reaffirming public access to King County’s public records

King County Executive Dow Constantine has signed a new Executive Policy that affirms public access to public records and commits the county to an open and transparent government. The policy update expands and details existing policy and incorporates model rules issued by the state attorney general.

“Under the law, public records belong to the public,” said Executive Constantine. “This policy reaffirms my commitment to open government, transparency, and customer service, and provides guidance to our public records officers in support of their duties to respond to requests under the Public Records Act.”

The policy update directs each department in the Executive Branch to designate a single management sponsor responsible for compliance by public records officers who respond to requests under the state Public Records Act. The policy documents the steps that are to be taken by employees when they receive a request for records.

The policy fulfills the terms of an ordinance adopted in October by the Metropolitan King County Council that updates the King County Code to reflect the Public Records Act and take into account the Model Rules for the disclosure of public records promulgated by the state Attorney General.

The Executive Policy affirms King County’s commitment to set high standards for response to records requests. The Washington State Auditor in 2008 cited King County’s public records accomplishments in the “Best Practices” portion of a report titled, “Open Public Record Practices at 30 Government Entities.”

The Executive Branch last year replied to around 1,800 requests under the Public Records Act. The revised procedures take effect April 1, 2010.

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