After nearly a year and a half of existence, Guilford County’s web-based electronic public records request system is proving popular.

However, some users of the service have complained that requests sometimes take too long to fill.

The service, which can be found at, opened up on June 1, 2021. After that, anyone could submit a public records request online for Guilford County government using the NextRequest system instead of filing those requests in person or by email.

The goal of the system, according to county officials, was to allow the county to “track public records requests across multiple County departments, standardize records processing, and help to monitor the fulfillment of requests in accordance with North Carolina Records Law.”

Since it began, there have been about 760 requests, with the first one coming on launch day from the Rhino Times – asking for the resignation letter and the separation agreement of a former deputy county manager.

The response was not really responsive.  It read, “Pursuant to N.C.G.S. 153A-98 Resignation letters, and/or any other documentation related to a resignation, are confidential and considered a part of the personnel file.  As a result, we are unable to fulfill your request.”

That was a strange response because, previously, the county had always provided those documents for departing county staff.  Since that initial June 1 inquiry, there have been about 760 more requests with people asking for things like septic records for certain properties, Board of Commissioners guidelines for giving county money to non-profits, the booking photos of certain jail inmates, marriage and divorce records for couples and many other types of requests.

Often the county’s response is that the record is held by another entity, such as the county’s court system or the City of Greensboro or the City of High Point.

In many cases, the requests are answered within the 10-business-day guideline county officials hope to meet.

But, in some cases, people ask for massive amounts of information with very wide-ranging requests.  Those can take much longer.

Recently, for instance, former Summerfield Mayor Gail Dunham sent an email to the Guilford County commissioners, members of the media and others noting that a request she made in early September regarding the county’s dealings with the Town of Summerfield had not been answered even though it was almost the end of October.

When the Rhino Times asked Guilford County Clerk to the Board Robin Keller about the status of Dunham’s request, Keller responded in an email: “As indicated on our portal, when an individual makes a request we work to respond to all requests for information as quickly as possible and strive to communicate a realistic time frame.  For most routine requests, records will be provided within ten business days; however, for large and complex requests … it may not always be possible to fill public records requests right away if the request spans agencies and/or if they need to be reviewed to determine if they contain confidential or restricted information.”

Keller also wrote that “duplicate” requests similar to Dunham’s had been received as well and she noted that “several departments are actively working through the requestors’ questions and are reviewing for responsive records, including those which are currently accessible on the County’s website.  After initial searches are completed we reach out to the requestor to try and narrow down those items which are overly broad for more specific search criteria to improve search returns.”