Today, the City of Lakewood, filed a mandamus action in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court compelling RTA to turn over public records that the City requested over 30 days ago. Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich has also filed a Friend of the Court motion supporting Lakewood’s position.
On July 31, 2009, the City of Lakewood submitted a public records request to RTA requesting documents relating to the Lakewood Community Circulator. RTA recently announced it would be cutting the Lakewood Community Circulator service in September and Lakewood has been fighting this decision. On August 28, Mayor Ed FitzGerald advised RTA that he would give them 72 more hours to provide the requested records or he would be forced to file the court action.
State law requires that public records be provided to requesting parties in a timely manner. Ohio courts have interpreted that 30 day delays are excessive. Despite the fact that the City explicitly requested all internal emails and memos regarding the circulator service cuts authored by RTA personnel, and reiterated the request at a recent RTA Board meeting, not a single such document was provided.
“RTA has had plenty of time to fully comply with our records request but has still not done so,” stated Mayor Ed FitzGerald. “With the Circulator service cuts deadline approaching on September 20, the City had no choice but to file an action against RTA to compel them to turn over all of the public records we have requested.”