CAIRO — The state Department of Law says Grady County did not appear to violate open records laws following an inquiry into a resident's complaint.
Richard Jordan, a frequent critic of county government, submitted a complaint to the state attorney general's office Sept. 9 alleging that the county was withholding emails from an open records request he filed in June. Jordan's complaint was mediated through the DOL's Open Government Mediation Program.
Jordan received a response to his complaint Tuesday from DOL stating that the county did not appear to violate any laws.
"The response from the attorney general comes as no surprise to the Grady County commissioners," said County Administrator Buddy Johnson. "The county provided Mr. Jordan with the information he requested in a timely manner and in its entirety. The fact that what he received doesn't fit his false narrative and accusations does not put us in violation of any laws surrounding open records."
Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Colangelo wrote that the county also did not violate the Open Meetings Act during a June 12 closed-door meeting which was called to discuss economic opportunities at Tired Creek Lake. Only two county commissioners were present at the meeting, which did not necessitate a quorum. Jordan's initial open records request that led to the mediation was in regards to the meeting, which he believes was intentionally set below a quorum in order to avoid public pressure.
Jordan's records request was for all correspondence regarding Tired Creek Lake between Johnson, the county commissioners and Grady County Lake Authority members from late May and early June.
In response to Jordan's request, the county provided a series of emails listed in chronological order. He argued that some of the emails in that chain appeared to be replies to earlier emails which were not included in the county's response. Some emails were not included in the county's initial response because they did not match Jordan's search request, according to a letter from DOL to county attorney Gabe Ridley.
A second open records request was submitted for the full chain of emails in PDF format. The county provided additional emails in response, but Jordan said some messages still appeared to be missing.
DOL received Jordan's complaint Sept. 9.
"(The) county is confident that they have done a thorough search and have provided you with all the responsive records they could locate," Colangelo wrote in her response.
Colangelo's letter concludes by saying that the thoughts she expressed in the letter are "not the official opinion of our office." A request for clarification from DOL did not receive a response in time for publication.
For Jordan, the fight isn't over yet.
"There will be further discussions with the attorney general's office to gain clarity on my Tired Creek Lake open records request," he said.
Meanwhile, Johnson said the county considers the matter to be closed.
"Mr. Jordan certainly may pursue other avenues if he wishes at his own expense," the county administrator said.