The State of Wisconsin has a tradition of open government and has tasked each municipality with providing access to public records. Learn more about Wisconsin’s public record policies at the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) website, including the compliance guides for both open meetings and public records.

Access to the City of Madison’s public records is governed by Wis. Stat. §§ 19.31-19.39, Madison General Ordinance (MGO) 3.70 and Administrative Procedures Memorandum (APM) 3-6. You can find more information on the City Attorney’s Office webpage.

We also have an Open Data Portal with data about the city for everyone to access. This data includes information on health, public safety, city projects and plans, city facilities, and much more!

Public Records Requests

Public records requests should be addressed to that specific department’s Records Custodian.

  • The City Clerk is the legal custodian of the records of the Common Council as a body politic, as well as all Common Council boards, committees and commissions. The Clerk’s Office is also custodian of local election and campaign finance records.
  • Each department or division head is the official custodian of the records (including email) of their department or office. Department and Division Heads have designated one or more employees to act in their absence.
  • Each alderperson is the custodian of their individual official records, such as their correspondence, memorandums and email. Any alderperson may designate, in writing, the staff of the Common Council Office to act as the official custodian of the alderperson's individual official records.
  • For Madison Police Department records visit Police Department Records.

Not sure who to contact? The Clerk’s Office is always happy to help you figure out who has the records you want to examine.

Records can be requested in person, in writing, via email or phone – whichever works for you!

Public Records Request Fees

In compliance with Madison General Ordinance 3.70, the Director of Information Technology and the Finance Director have developed a uniform fee schedule for public records requests and the reproduction of records.