Are government employees allowed to give out information over the phone on things that are public record?

Hello.

I tried to get information on some guy who crashed into my building and the person in records was saying that I was required to make a open records request and pay them money because she was unable to give that information out since she could not confirm my identity. My question is why does that matter if the information is considered to be a public record?

Are you required to submit a formal request with money before a public record information is giving out? Is it only considered public record after a request is made? Why can't they tell you over the phone?

Thanks.

4 Answers

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  • 4 years ago

    Each office has their own rules. I know it's the internet age, but a lot of places act like it was 1999. I don't know of any court rulings that would require them to give you the information on the phone. They can require you to submit a formal request just because then feel like it.

    (Actually, they have to have the same rule for every member of the public. So they can't discriminate against just you.)

  • martin
    Lv 7
    4 years ago

    The person you talked to was confusing public record with confidential information. Possibly the public record you sought contained some confidential information, but hadn't been officially classified as confidential. She also might have meant that unless you were a law enforcement investigator or official, her boss told her not to give information like that. Maybe calling again and getting someone else on the line is the easiest way.

  • y
    Lv 7
    4 years ago

    Policy designed to get ever last cent they can. No more, no less.

  • WRG
    Lv 7
    4 years ago

    While they are public records that doesn't mean they are free. It takes employees time to go look them up. Hence the fee.

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