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Craighead County library system admits to second violation of Arkansas Freedom of Information Act

by The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | December 19, 2021 at 3:28 a.m.

The Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library has settled a lawsuit over a resident seeking access to public records, agreeing it had violated the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

The library acknowledged that it had failed to provide Craighead County resident Darrell Cook complete and unredacted public records in a timely manner, according to the settlement. The library had improperly redacted some information from the backs of bank checks that were part of Cook's public records requests.

Cook filed the lawsuit -- 16JCV-21-1452 -- on Dec. 8 through Fort Smith-based attorneys Joey McCutchen and Stephen Napurano.

The settlement is the second one involving the library system in which the system agreed it had violated the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

On Nov. 10, the library's board admitted to violating the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act by not giving notice of a subcommittee meeting to Craighead County resident Amanda Escue in October. Escue filed a lawsuit -- 16JCV-21-1282 -- on Oct. 27 through McCutchen and Napurano.

In the settlement to that case, the library board agreed to pay court costs and attorney's fees, and to receive a two-hour training session on the requirements of Arkansas' open-meetings law.

Under the terms of the latest settlement, the one involving the library staff and Cook, the library employees in charge of handling public-records requests "will now receive an additional two-hour training on the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act as it relates to public records." The library will also have to pay another set of court costs and attorney's fees.

Print Headline: Library system again to pay for law breach

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