The Assembly on 8/6/14 will consider a motion by Vice President Ryan Bradley regarding PNC policy on procedures for responding to Public Records Act requests and assessing appropriate charges. The proposal was heard in Executive Committee on 7/29/14.
MOTION: Approve a council policy on procedures for responding to Public Records Act requests and assessing appropriate charges.
Proposal re: Public Records Act Requests
The council should adopt a policy for inclusion in either the council’s bylaws or its ground rules laws addressing how the council should respond to Public Records Act [PRA] requests.
1) The secretary shall review all incoming PRA requests, identify and collect all responsive documents and respond timely to the request. However, if the PRA request is determined by the council president to concern either conflicts of interest related to, or actions taken by the secretary, then the president shall assign another council member, whose acts or potential conflicts are not implicated specifically by the request, to respond.
2) Immediately upon receiving a PRA request, the secretary or responding member shall forward the request to DONE and the city attorney’s office and seek guidance as to how to respond.
3) The response shall be issued within ten days of receipt of the PRA request, unless there are significant barriers to locating, identifying or copying (if requested) the documents, at which point the secretary or responding member may take longer to respond. However, the determination as to whether the barriers to identify or copy the documents are so significant as to merit additional response time shall be made solely by the city attorney’s office.
4) Any documents prepared, owned or retained by the council may be the subject of a PRA request, provided that they are reasonably identified and not privileged or confidential in nature. Determinations as to a document’s privileged or confidential nature shall only be made in consultation with the city attorney’s office.
5) PRA requests may only concern documents already in existence at the time of the request; no documents need be generated in response to a PRA request.
6) Requested documents may be provided in either paper or electronic form. The election of the form of the response rests solely with the requesting party. Prior to providing the response, the secretary or the responding member must inform the requesting party of the format options along with the related costs. The costs shall be based on those dictated by the California Government code at the time of the request. NOTE: The Government code limits the charges for providing documents in electronic format to the cost of the electronic media on which the documents are placed [e.g. the CD-ROM or “thumb” drive”].
7) As a government entity, the Government code allows the council to decide whether to waive costs associated with responses to PRA requests. The policy for waiver of PRA response charges is as follows:
(1) The council shall not waive charges associated with PRA requests when the response is in paper form (copier costs).
(2) The council shall waive charges associated with requests when the response is in electronic form.