It’s all (mostly) public record |

It’s all (mostly) public record

Cliff Thompson

Last week the Vail Daily requested from the county commissioners a month’s worth of e-mails, from February 1 to March 1.E-mails to from and between elected officials are considered public information under the Colorado Open Records Act. Excluded from that act is privileged information such as that rendered by legal counsel and personnel matters considered to be private.The Daily received more than 2,000 pages of e-mails sent to and from the commissioners, including several hundred from the personal computers of the commissioners as they conducted public business. Of that total 38 e-mails were withheld because they dealt with personnel or legal matters where disclosure would breach attorney-client privilege, said Jack Ingstad, county administrator, who also is custodian of public records. Also not included, said Ingstad, were the ubiquitous and unwanted e-mail spam messages.Most of the e-mails were informational pieces about legislation, meetings that need to be attended or requests for service. As it often typical for e-mail, most are cursory responses – often one word – to questions.Many are copies of e-mails that are sent and resent to multiple sources.The county posted news that the e-mails had been requested on its Web site, noting that capturing the e-mails was simple but the legal and other staff members spent 25 hours reviewing the e-mails the county is prohibited from releasing.Two weeks prior to the request for information from the county, administrator Ingstad sent an e-mail to all county officials noting that e-mails are public information. The county provided the information at no charge.Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or, Colorado

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