Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem issued an opinion Friday saying the city of Mandan's response time to an open records request was "unreasonable."

On June 24, S. Paul Jordan asked for employment-related records from the city. Twenty-four days later, Mandan city administrator Jim Neubauer said there were no related records.

The city said at the time it was occupied with other business such as budget meetings, July 4 preparations and job interviews, as well as other open record requests by Jordan.

Jordan, a "prolific and persistent requestor," has submitted over 300 open records requests since 2014 to the city of Mandan, Stenehjem wrote.

"In this case, the city did not need to produce any records responsive to the request but merely had to provide a statement that no records existed," Stenehjem wrote.

As the man eventually received a response, and to remedy the situation, Stenehjem encouraged the city of Mandan to review its obligations relating to open records laws. 

North Dakota's open records laws require "when a public entity receives a request for records, it must, within a reasonable time, either provide the records or explain why the records are not being provided," Stenehjem's opinion said.

Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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