Mike Kovack

Mike Kovack
Medina County Auditor

144 N. Broadway St, Medina, OH  44256
Medina:  (330) 725-9754     Toll free:  (844) 722-3800, ext. 9754

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Medina County Prosecutor's
Casual Opinion of Our Stored Email Addresses
Dated 2/8/2007


It is the opinion of this Office (Prosecutor's Office) that the requested personal e-mail addresses of private citizens are not public records and need not be provided.

Public records are records that include "any document ***, created or received by or coming under the jurisdiction of any public office ***, which serves to document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, -or other activities of the office." R.C. 149.011 (A). An item that does not serve to so document the activities of a public office is not a public record and need not be disclosed.

The disclosure of personal e-mail addresses of private citizens requesting information of a governmental office "does little to ensure the accountability of government or shed light on ***[its] performance of its statutory duties." State ex rel Beacon Journal v. Bond (2002), 98 Ohio St. 3d 146,149 [PI 1]. The Supreme Court of Ohio has determined that the disclosure of information about private citizens is not required when such information "reveals little or nothing about an agency's own conduct and would do nothing to further the purposes of the Public Records Act." State ex rel McCleary v. Roberts (2000), 88 Ohio St. 3d 365 at 368 and 369.

It is the position of this Office, under the guidelines set by the Supreme Court of Ohio, that the personal e-mail addresses of private individuals, which are voluntarily submitted to the County Auditor solely for the administrative purpose of providing a contact address for individuals who have requested that they be provided certain information updates, are not public records and need not be disclosed. The personal e-mail addresses of these private individuals reveal little or nothing about the County Auditor's conduct of his operations or statutory duties; unauthorized disclosure would compromise privacy interests and does nothing to further the purposes of the Public Records Act.