OSU Employee Phone Policy Violates Open Records Law, Experts Say

Hargis uses his private BlackBerry to conduct university business, but he says the related text messages, e-mails and numbers dialed are not records open to the public.

However, advocates for government openness, along with a judge and attorneys general in other states, say records of public business should be open, regardless of whether the device that the created the record is privately owned.

Hargis said he elected not to receive reimbursement for his cell phone though his job requires him to be available 24 hours a day, making him eligible for a university-financed phone. Thus, records of his cell phone are not open to the public, university attorneys say.

Hargis’ phone is not the only cellular device outside of the scope of public inspection, according to OSU policy. The same holds true for the 493 employee cell phones on record at the human resource department, as well as an unknown number of other employee phones not documented at that office. Read more…

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