Mayor Greenberg to restructure Louisville’s open records department
As part of Greenberg’s campaign promise to make city records and activities more transparent, he announced at a news conference more funding and new staff for the city’s open records department.
Mayor Craig Greenberg announced Thursday he plans to restructure the Louisville Metro Department of Records Compliance to be an independent agency with more staff.
“One of the most fundamental ways we establish trust is by sharing information about what we’re doing both proactively and in response to open records requests,” Greenberg said at a news conference.
Greenberg said he is reestablishing it as an independent department that will report to Dana Mayton, the deputy mayor for operations and budget, as opposed to being a subdivision of the Office of Management and Budget.
The city has seen a large increase in public records requests over the past several years, which has caused a significant backlog, Greenberg said. He said, as of Thursday, the city has 955 unfulfilled open records requests.
“It's our job to provide that information,” Greenberg said. “And for far too long, there's been an unacceptable backlog in getting those requests reviewed and processed in a timely manner.”
Six new people will join the department to help break down the backlog of requests, pending Metro Council approval. The newly restructured department will also oversee all requests for information on Louisville Metro Police activities.
“LMPD’s response to open records requests for documents, 911 calls, emails and video from now on will be under civilian control,” Greenberg said. “LMPD will remain a partner in helping us access records from law enforcement databases.”
The announcement comes in the wake of LMPD’s settlement with the 490 Project, a local police watchdog, that sued for access to complaints against officers and alleged LMPD was destroying records of complaints. While the lawsuit was ongoing, some Metro Council members looked to audit LMPD’s open records policies late last year. Greenberg said the restructuring would not affect how records are retained, just how they are relayed to the public.
Greenberg also said the administration would provide new training to ensure all government employees adhere to open records laws, which he said is currently “spotty.”