The city of Cleveland is creating an online portal to make its records more broadly available to the public.
In a news release, the city on Thursday, Oct. 26, said it is testing a new public records management system called GovQA.
“Public records should be readily available and we want to streamline the process in which citizens receive information,” Mayor Frank Jackson said in the release. “The new system is not the final answer, but an important first step in a comprehensive effort to fulfill requests in a timelier manner.”
The city and Cuyahoga County have come under fire in recent days for their refusal to release details of the local response to Amazon’s search for a second headquarters city, claiming the information is proprietary and is not subject to public disclosure. This new system won’t make publicly available information the city chooses to keep confidential, but journalists and others seeking information have long complained about the city’s slow response to routine public records requests.
Currently, public records requests must be made by letter or email.
The news release stated that the new software will enable people to file requests online through GovQA, and they will be able to track progress of their requests online and receive email updates.
The software is expected to be available by mid-November. The website will include frequently asked questions and trending topics pages that will allow public access to information without filing a formal request.