Former Summerfield Town Councilmember Todd Rotruck said this week that Guilford County is stonewalling him on a public records request he submitted months ago. He said he is having a great deal of trouble getting a response to what he said is a straightforward request for information that he needs in order to continue his legal battle to regain his council seat.
Rotruck was removed from the Summerfield Town Council in April after the Guilford County Board of Elections determined, in response to a residency challenge, that he lived in Greensboro rather than Summerfield.
Rotruck fought that decision in the courts, where so far he’s been unsuccessful. He is now taking his case to the NC Court of Appeals and, as part of that fight, he has requested all correspondence between Guilford County and the Town of Summerfield pertaining to his case.
“We made the request about two and a half months ago,“ Rotruck said. “Really, we’re not asking for much. We made a similar request to [Summerfield Town Attorney] Bill Hill – for the internal emails in Summerfield – and we got those. It took a month, but we did get them.”
Rotruck said he‘s not sure why Guilford County is taking so long to fill the request and he added that the county has been offering “lame excuses.”
When the Guilford County Board of Elections determined that Rotruck was not a Summerfield resident earlier this year, there was communication back and forth between Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne and Summerfield officials, Rotruck said.
While the Board of Elections did determine Rotruck’s residency, that board never discussed whether Rotruck could serve on the Summerfield Town Council; however, Payne did say at the time that, in his legal opinion, state law kicked in automatically to remove Rotruck with there being no need of any action from the elections board for Rotruck to lose his seat.
Payne did not immediately respond to a phone message and an email requesting the status of Rotruck’s request. Guilford County Clerk to the Board Robin Keller did not respond to an email.
The county routinely goes through the information complied in a public records request and checks to see that there is nothing in a record that is, say, a personnel matter or something protected by attorney/client privilege.