Otter names public records ombudsman

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Gov. Butch Otter has appointed a public records ombudsman to review how state agencies handle records requests and to look at ways to improve Idaho's public records laws.

Cally Younger, the associate attorney for the governor's office, is filling the post, Otter announced Wednesday.

The governor's executive order applies only to agencies within the executive branch of state government. And it comes at a time when some public interest groups have given the state failing grades for openness.

The governor said the move comes in response to a request from the Newspaper Association of Idaho, in hopes of creating an option that can resolve public records disputes without the expense of taking it to the court system.

Currently, Idaho public record laws state that if a person feels that a request was wrongly denied, their only option is to sue.

Otter says Younger will start by surveying state agencies on the number of records requests received and the reasons any are denied.