Right - to Know- Law
(Act 3 of 2008)
Adopting a Policy for Implementing the Right - to - Know Law Regulating Access to Public Records of the Borough of Bolivar
Whereas, the legislature has enacted a substantial revision to the Pennsylvania Right-to-know Law (Act 3 of February 14, 2008) providing for access to public information in the possession of local agencies, their boards, commissions and contractors, and
Whereas, the legislature has created the Office of Open Records to enforce the Right-to-Know Law and to serve as a resource for citizens, public officials and members of the media in obtaining public records, and
Whereas ,the newly enacted Right-to-Know Law will be effective on January 1, 2009 and mandates a revision to current policies and procedures employed by Bolivar Borough for processing Right-to-Know requests.
Now Therefore, the Council of Bolivar Borough hereby approves and adopts the following policy for implementing the Right-to-Know Law regulating access to public records of Bolivar Borough effective January 1, 2009
Bolivar Borough Policy
for Implementing the Right - to -Know Law Regulating
Access to Public Records
The purpose of this policy is to assure compliance with the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law 65 P.S. Section 67.10 et.seg. as amended (P.L. 6, February 14, 2008) to provide access to public records of the Borough of Bolivar, to preserve the integrity of Bolivar Borough's records, and to minimize the financial impact to the residents of Bolivar Borough ("Borough") regarding the resources utilized in the receipt and processing of public record requested and the retrieval and copying of public records.
It is the policy of the Borough to require the presence of a designated employee when public records are examined and inspected and to charge reasonable fees for duplication of public records of the Borough. the Secretary, or in his/ her absence the President of Council of the Borough is designated as the Open Records Officer responsible for assuring compliance with the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law, in accordance with the following guidelines.
1. The Open Records Officer may designate certain employee(s) to process public record requests.
2. The Open Records Officer is responsible for minimizing where possible, the financial impact on the Borough regarding the resources utilized in the receipt and processing of public record requests and the retrieval and copying of public records.
3. All requests for public records of the Borough under this policy shall be specific in identifying and describing each public record request. In no case shall the Borough be required to create a public record which does not exist or to compile, maintain, format or organize a public record in a manner in which the Borough does not currently compile, maintain, format or organize the public record.
4. All requests for public records shall be submitted in writing and on the form provided by the State Office of Open Records which can be obtained from the Borough during normal business hours. The form must be fully completed to be accepted. No verbal or anonymous requests will be accepted.
5. Record requests may be submitted to the Open Records Officer in person, by mail, by e-mail, or by facsimile. the request shall be deemed received on the date it is actually received by the Borough.
6. The Open Records Officer shall make a good faith effort to determine whether each record requested is a public record, whether the agency has possession, custody or control of the identified record and, if so, whether it is subject to access.
7. The Open Records Officer shall facilitate a reasonable response for the Borough's public records. In no case is the Borough expected to provide extraordinary staff time to respond to the request, but will respond in a manner consistent with the Borough's administrative responsibilities and consistent with the requirements of the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know A Law.
8. The Open Records Officer shall respond to the requester within five (5) business days from the date of receipt of the written request. If the Borough does not response within five (5) business days of receipt thereof, the request is deemed denied.
9. The response provided by the Borough shall either (1) approve access to the record (2) state that the request is being reviewed (3) approve / deny access in part or (4) deny access to the record.
10. If access to the public record requested is approved, the public record shall be available for access during the regular business hours of the Borough. The Public Records Officer shall cooperate fully with the requester, while also taking reasonable measures to protect the Borough's public records from the possibility of theft and / or modification. The presence of a designated employee is required when public records are examined and inspected.
11. In the event the estimated cost of fulfilling a request submitted under this policy is expected to exceed $100.00, the Borough shall obtain fifty percent (50%) of the expected cost in advance of fulfilling the request to avoid unwarranted expense of the Borough resources.
12. If the request is being reviewed, the notice provided by the Borough shall be in writing including the reason for the review and the expected response date, which shall be within thirty (30) days of the notice of review. If the Borough does not response within thirty (30) days thereof, the request is deemed denied. Review of the request is limited to situations where:
a. The record requested contains information which is subject to access, as well as information which is not subject to access that must be redacted prior to a grant of access. The redacted information is considered a denial as to that information.
b. The record requires retrieval from a remote location.
c. A timely response cannot be accomplished due to staffing limitations.
d. A legal review is necessary to determine whether the record requested is a public record.
e. The requester has failed to comply with the Borough's policy and procedure requirements, or
f. The requester refuses to pay the applicable fees, or
g. The extent or nature of the request precluded a response within the required time period.
13. If access to the record requested is denied in whole or in part, the notice provided by the Borough shall be in writing and contain
a. A description of the record requested.
b. The specific reasons for the denial, including a citation of supporting legal authority
c. The name, title, business address, business telephone number and signature of the Open Records Officer on whose authority the denial is issued.
d. Date of the response.
e. The procedure to appeal the denial of access under the Right - to - Know Act.
14. The Opens Records Officer shall maintain an electronic or paper copy of all requests, consistent with the Department's retention schedule, but in any event, until
a. The request has been fulfilled, or
b. 30 days have elapsed after a denial, or
c. A final decision has been made on any appeal.
15. Fees for duplication of public records, shall be as follows but not in excess of those authorized by the Office of Open Records, except where a higher charge is authorized by law:
a. Photocopying 25 cents ($0.25) cents per page.
b. Duplication of public records and / or tape records actual cost to the Borough of duplicating the public record.
c. Certified copies $1.00 per record
d. Postage actual cost to the Borough of mailing the public record.
The Borough may in its discretion waive fees. If a public record is subject to access, but is in the possession of a party other that the Borough, the Open Records Officer shall assess a duplication fee, but upon collection shall remit the fee to the party in possession of the record if that party duplicated the record.
16. If the request is denied or deemed denied, the requester may file an appeal with the Office of Open Records within fifteen (15) business days of the mailing date of the Borough's notice of denial, or within fifteen(15) days of a deemed denial. the appeal should be in writing and addressed to Executive Director, Office of Open Records, Commonwealth Keystone Building, 400 North Street 4th floor, Harrisburg PA 17120 The appeal Must:
a. State the grounds upon which the requester asserts that the record is a public record.
b. Address any grounds stated by the Borough for delaying or denying the request.
17. This policy shall be posted conspicuously at the Borough Building and on the Borough's website, (if applicable) together with contact information for the Open Records Officer, the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records and a Request Form.
18. This policy supersedes any and all prior Open Records policy of the borough.
Resolved this 3rd day of January 2009
President of Council
Original on file in Vault
Standard Right - To- Know Request Form
As prepared by the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records
Date Requested: ______________________
Request Submitted by : E-Mail U.S. Mail Fax IN- Person
Name of Requestor _______________________________________________
Street Address __________________________________
City/ State / County (required): ______________________________________________
Telephone (Optional) ______________________________________________
*Provide as much specific detail as possible so the agency can identify the information.
Do You Want Copies? Yes or NO
Do You want to inspect the records? Yes or No
Do You want Certified Copies of Records? Yes or NO
Right to Know Officer: _______________________________
Date Received by the Agency _________________________________________________
Agency Five (5) Day Response Due : _________________________________________________
**Public bodies may fill anonymous verbal or written requests. If the requestor wishes to pursue the relief and remedies provided for in this Act, the request must be in writing. (Section 702). Written requests need not include an explanation why information is sought or the intended use of the information unless otherwise required by law. (Section 703)