Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says the Stark County Board of Commissioners didn’t provide requested records within a reasonable time and failed to communicate with the requester in a Jan. 19 opinion.

On Oct. 27, 2020, the requester asked Stark County for records concerning finalist applications for a human resources position. After receiving no response, the requester sent a reminder 13 days later, according to Stenehjem.

James Hope, the assistant Stark County state’s attorney, denied the request because he didn’t believe that three or more finalists for the position were chosen, which would make the records confidential, Stenehjem said. After further review, Hope saw finalists were chosen and gave the records to the requester on Dec. 30, 2020.

Stenehjem says the board didn’t provide the records in a reasonable time but says the county described the legal reason for its denial properly and while it initially misapplied a North Dakota Century Code, it corrected it when the facts were discovered.