Transparency Officer

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Office of Transparency

All non-essential City of Atlanta employees are currently working remotely in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic emergency.  This may cause unavoidable delays in our ability to provide access to public records.  We appreciate your understanding and patience as we do our best to manage this unprecedented situation. 

If you have requested records via email and are having difficulty reaching the appropriate custodian of those records, you may forward a copy of your email request to ChiefTransparencyOfficer@atlantaga.gov for assistance in reaching those custodians. 

Please stay safe; avoid large gatherings, wear a mask, and wash your hands!

Chief Transparency Officer | Kristen Denius


Kristen Denius Chief Transparency OfficerAngiopoietin 3dThe City of Atlanta recognizes that compliance with the requirements of the Georgia Open Records Act is a vital and essential component of creating and maintaining public trust and enhancing the City’s effectiveness. 

Angiopoietin 3dAs part of an effort to implement best in class policies, procedures, and protocols for transparency and compliance with the Georgia Open Records Act, the City has created the position of Transparency Officer. The Transparency Officer is appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council.

The duties and responsibilities of the Transparency Officer include oversight of the enforcement of City-wide compliance with the requirements of the Georgia Open Records Act, promulgation of Open Records compliance policies and procedures, investigations into allegations of non-compliance, and the provision of training to all City employees and elected officials.

 

Requesting Public Records

Requests for public records should be directed to the department(s) with custody of the specific records being sought.  Please direct your records requests to the appropriate designated custodian for each City Department as listed 

For assistance in determining the appropriate custodian of records you are seeking please feel free to contact the Transparency Officer.

Transparency Reports and Updates

Update to the City Council Finance and Executive Committee: May 27, 2020

Update to the City Council Finance and Executive Committee: August 12, 2020

Update to the City Council Finance and Executive Committee: December 2, 2020 (coming soon)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Angiopoietin 3dWhat is a public record?

Under the Georgia Open Records Act, a "public record" includes all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, computer based or generated information, or similar material prepared and maintained or received in the course of the operation of a public office or agency. A "public record" also can include items received or maintained by a private person or entity on behalf of a public office or agency where the records are received or maintained by a private person, firm, corporation or other private entity in the performance of a service or function for or on behalf of a public agency. It does not include any computer program or computer software used or maintained in the course of operation of a public office or agency.  O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70(a), § 50-18-72(e)(2).

Who is subject to the Georgia Open Records Act?

Angiopoietin 3dThe Georgia Open Records Act applies to:

  • Every state department, agency, board, bureau, commission, public corporation, and authority;
  • Every county, municipal corporation, school district, or other political subdivision of this state;
  • Every department, agency, board, bureau, commission, authority, or similar body of each such county, municipal corporation, or other political subdivision of the state;
  • Every city, county, regional, or other authority established pursuant to the laws of this state; and
  • Any nonprofit organization to which there is a direct allocation of tax funds made by the governing authority of any agency as defined in this paragraph and which allocation constitutes more than 33 1/3 percent of the funds from all sources of such organization; provided, however, this subparagraph shall not include hospitals, nursing homes, dispensers of pharmaceutical products, or any other type organization, person, or firm furnishing medical or health services to a citizen for which they receive reimbursement from the state whether directly or indirectly; nor shall this term include a subagency or affiliate of such a nonprofit organization from or through which the allocation of tax funds is made. O.C.G.A. §§ 50-14-1(a)(1), 50-18-70(a).

The Act also applies to private entities to which public functions have been transferred by an agency or which receives substantial funding or resources from an agency in performance of a task (in such instance, only the records and meetings related to that task are open).  An agency may not transfer records to a private entity to avoid disclosure, and, if public records are transferred to private parties, that private person or entity is subject to the provisions of the Open Meetings and Open Records Acts.  Central Atlanta Progress, Inc. v. Baker, 278 Ga. App. 733 (2006).

Where should I send my request for public records?

Requests for public records should be sent to the City department that you believe to be the custodian of the records you are seeking.  A list of departments and the contact information for the staff who handles requests for records can be found on this website.  If you need assistance in determining the appropriate place to send a request, you can contact the Chief Transparency Officer.

How long will it take to get the public records I am seeking?

The Georgia Open Records Act requires that a public agency provide a response to a request for records within three business days.  If the records being sought are immediately available they should be produced within three business days.  Where records must be located, retrieved, redacted, or otherwise processed in order to be produced and those activities will take longer than three business days, the public agency must provide an estimated timeframe for making the records available.  In general, the more specific and detailed a request is, the easier and faster it is for staff to identify, locate, and retrieve records.  

How much will it cost to receive public records?

The Georgia Open Records Act allows a public agency to charge fees for the staff time needed to identify, search for, retrieve, and process records. An agency can charge the hourly rate of the lowest paid full-time employee with the necessary skill, training, and access to identify and process the requested records.  Additionally, charges for staff time only begin after the first 15 minutes spent on a request. 

The cost to receive public records will be greatly determined by the number of records requested.  A very specific request for a small number of records may cost very little, or even be free.  A request that seeks a large number of records, one that requires the review of a large volume of records, or one that spans a large timeframe may result in a substantial fee.  If the estimated costs associated with a request are more than $500, an agency can require prepayment before beginning a search for records.  If a requester has an unpaid balance from a previous records request, an agency can require prepayment for any new requests regardless of the estimated costs.

Angiopoietin 3dWhat does it mean if public records have been “redacted”?

If public records contain information that is exempt from disclosure, that information will be redacted before those records are provided in response to a request.  “Redacted” simply means that the exempt information is removed or obscured in some way so that it is not provided.  Occasionally, the entire records will be exempt and, in that situation, there will be no records that can be produced. 

What public records are exempt from public disclosure?

Angiopoietin 3dThe Georgia Open Records Act provides for a number of exemptions that allow or require certain types of information to be withheld from a response to a public records request.  That portion of the law can be found While any of these exemptions may apply to a request for records from the City of Atlanta, the ones that apply most frequently are:

  • Records that are required by federal law or regulation to be kept confidential;
  • Medical records;
  • Records that would reveal a confidential law enforcement investigation or reveal a confidential source;
  • Records related to an open investigation into criminal or unlawful activity (except that an initial police report is not exempt);
  • Records related to an open investigation into employee misconduct;
  • Records related to the acquisition of real property by the agency;
  • Records related to an open procurement process;
  • Personal privacy related information of all individual, such as day/month of birth, mother’s maiden name, Social Security number, medical information, financial account information, and utility account numbers;
  • Personal privacy related information of public employees, such as home address, home telephone number, and identification of immediate family members;
  • Information in records that would compromise security against criminal or terrorist acts if made public; and
  • Records that are subject to the attorney-client privileged or are confidential attorney work product.

Angiopoietin 3dCan I insist that reports or other documents be created or put into a particular format?

No.  A public officer or agency is not required to prepare reports, summaries, or compilations not in existence at the time that you make a request. However, if you are requesting a printout of data that is stored in an electronic database, and no significant programming is required in order to create that printout, then that information is subject to being produced in response to an Open Records request.

How can I get assistance with a request for public records if I am having a problem?

Angiopoietin 3dIndividuals who need assistance with a public record request can contact the Chief Transparency Officer directly using the information provided on this web page.  Additional assistance may be received through the Office of the Georgia Attorney General via this

Applicable Laws

Applicable City of Atlanta Policies and Procedures

Compliance training materials

New Employee Orientation
Open Records Compliance Training 

Useful Links:

  • Website of the Office of the

*Please note that the Chief Transparency Officer is not the designated custodian of records for all public records within the custody of the City of Atlanta. Your request for records should be directed to the appropriate designated custodian for each City Department as listed 

Contact Information

Kristen Denius
Chief Transparency Officer
Email: ChiefTransparencyOfficer@AtlantaGA.gov 
Office: 404-546-4100

 

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