Public Records Act Policy
The City of East Wenatchee Public Records Act (PRA) Policy
- PRA-010: Authority and Purpose
- PRA-020: Description - Contact Information - Public Records Officer
- PRA-030: Availability of Public Records
- PRA-040: Processing of Public Records Requests - General
- PRA-050: Processing of Public Records Requests - Electronic Records
- PRA-060: Exemptions
- PRA-070: Costs of Providing Copies of Public Records
- PRA-080: Review of Denials of Public Records
PRA-010: Authority and Purpose
A. Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 42.56.070(1) requires the City to make available for inspection and copying nonexempt "public records" in accordance with published rules. The Public Records Act ("Act'') defines "public record" to include any "writing containing information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function prepared, owned, used, or retained" by the City.
B. RCW 42.56.070(2) requires the City to set forth "for informational purposes" every law, in addition to the Act, that exempts or prohibits the disclosure of public records held by that agency.
C. The purpose of these rules is to establish the procedures the City will follow in order to provide full access to public records. These rules provide information to persons wishing to request access to public records of the City and establish processes for both requestors and the City staff that are designed to best assist members of the public in obtaining such access.
D. The purpose of the Act is to provide the public full access to information concerning the conduct of government, mindful of individuals' privacy rights and the desirability of the efficient administration of government. The Act and these rules will be interpreted in favor of disclosure. In carrying out its responsibilities under the act, the City will be guided by the provisions of the Act describing its purposes and interpretation.
PRA-020: Description - Contact Information - Public Records Officer
A. The City of East Wenatchee is a municipal corporation. The City's' central office is located at:
271 9th Street NE
East Wenatchee, WA 98802
B. A person wishing to request access to a public record of the City should go to the City's website at www.east-wenatchee.com and fill out an online request. If a person needs assistance in making a request, he or she should contact the City's public records officer of the City:
271 9th Street NE
East Wenatchee, WA 98802
Email Devin Pouslon
If a person needs assistance in making a request for police records, he or she should contact the Police Department's Records Specialist:
271 9th Street NE.
East Wenatchee, WA 98802
Email Andi Sharp
C. The public records officer oversees compliance with the Act but another staff member may process the request. Thus, a reference to the public records officer includes a reference the public records officer or "designee." The public records officer and the City will provide the "fullest assistance" to a requestor, ensure that the City protects public records from damage or disorganization, and prevent fulfilling public records requests from causing excessive interference with essential functions of the City.
PRA-030: Availability of Public Records
A. Hours for inspection of records. A public records is available for inspection and copying during normal business hours of the City.
B. Records index. The City finds that maintaining an index is unduly burdensome and would interfere with its operations (See EWMC 1.28.010).
C. Organization of records. The City will maintain its records in a reasonably organized manner. The City will take reasonable actions to protect records from damage and disorganization. A requestor may not take the City records from the City offices without the permission of the public records officer. A variety of records are available on the City website at www.east-wenatchee.com. The City encourages a requestor to view the records available on the website prior to submitting a record request.
D. Making a request for public records:
a. A person wishing to inspect or copy a public record of the City should fill out an online request form. In the alternative, a person may fill out a Public Record Request Form (PDF) and email it, fax it, or mail it to the City's public records officer. The request should include the following information: Name of requestor; a telephone number; an email address; a mailing address; a description of the record requested specific enough to allow the public records officer to locate the records; and the date and time of day of the request.
b. If a requestor wishes to have copies of a record made instead of simply inspecting it, he or she should so indicate and make arrangements to pay for copies of the records or a deposit. As allowed by RCW 42.56.120, the City charges 15 cents to photocopy a page.
c. A requestor may find a form to make a public records request on the Public Records page and at the office of the public records officer.
d. The City discourages verbal requests. The public records officer, however, may accept requests for public records that contain the above information by telephone or in person. If the public records officer accepts such a request, he or she will confirm receipt of the information and the substance of the request in writing.
PRA-040: Processing of Public Records Requests - General
A. Providing "fullest assistance." The City must adopt rules which provide for how it will "provide full access to public records," "protect records from damage or disorganization," "prevent excessive interference with other essential functions of the City," provide the "fullest assistance" to requestors, and provide the "most timely possible action" on a public records request. The public records officer will process requests in the order allowing the most requests to be processed in the most efficient manner.
B. Acknowledging receipt of request. Within five business days of receipt of the request, the public records officer will do one or more of the following:
a. Make the requested record available for inspection or copying.
b. If copies are requested and payment of a deposit for the copies, if any, is made or terms of payment are agreed upon, send the copies to a requestor.
c. Provide a reasonable estimate of when a requested record will be available.
d. If the request is unclear or does not sufficiently identify the requested records, request clarification from a requestor. Such clarification may be requested and provided by telephone. The public records officer may revise the estimate of when records will be available.
e. Deny the request.
C. Consequences of failure to respond. If the City does not respond in writing within five business days of receipt of a request for product, a requestor should contact the public records officer to determine the reason for the failure to respond.
D. Protecting rights of others. If a requested record contains information that may affect the rights of another individual and may be exempt from production, the public records officer may, prior to providing the records, give notice to such others whose rights may be affected by the disclosure. Such notice should be given so as to allow an affected individual to contact a requestor and ask him or her to revise the request, or, if necessary, seek an order from a court to prevent or limit production of the requested record. The notice to the affected individual should invite the individual to come to City Hall to inspect the requested record.
E. Records exempt from disclosure. Some records are exempt from disclosure, in whole or in part. If the City believes that a record is exempt from disclosure and should be withheld, the public records officer will state the specific exemption and provide a brief explanation of why a record is being withheld. If only a portion of a record is exempt from production, but the remainder is not exempt, the public records officer will redact the exempt portions, provide the nonexempt portions, and indicate to a requestor why portions of the record were redacted.
F. Inspection of a record.
a. Consistent with other demands, the City will promptly provide space to inspect a public record. No one may remove a record from the viewing area, disassemble a record, or alter a record. A requestor must indicate which records he or she wishes the City to copy.
b. A requestor must claim or review an assembled record within thirty days of the City notifying him or her that the record is available for inspection or copying. The City will notify a requestor in writing of this requirement and inform a requestor that he or she should contact the City to make arrangements to claim or review a record. If a requestor or a representative of a requestor fails to claim or review a record within the thirty-day period or make other arrangements, the City will close the request and refile the assembled record. Other public records requests can be processed ahead of a subsequent request by the same person for the same or almost identical records, which can be processed as a new request.
c. Providing copies of a record. After inspection is complete, the public records officer will make the requested copies or arrange for copying.
d. Providing records in installments. If a request is for a large number of records, the public records officer will provide access for inspection and copying in installments, if he or she reasonably determines that it would be practical to provide the records in that way. If, within thirty days, a requestor fails to inspect the entire set of records or one or more of the installments, the public records officer may stop searching for the remaining records and close the request.
e. Completion of inspection. When the inspection of a requested record is complete and the city has provide all the requested copies, the public records officer will indicate that the City has completed a diligent search for the requested records and made any located nonexempt records available for inspection.
f. Closing withdrawn or abandoned request. If a requestor either withdraws a request or fails to fulfill his or her obligations to inspect a requested record or pay the deposit or final payment for requested copies, the public records officer will close the request and indicate to a requestor that the City has closed the request.
g. Later discovered documents. If, after the City has informed a requestor that it has provided all available records, the City becomes aware of additional responsive documents existing at the time of the request, it will promptly inform a requestor of the additional records and provide them on an expedited basis.
PRA-050: Processing of Public Records Requests - Electronic Records
A. Requesting electronic records. The process for requesting an electronic public record is the same as for requesting a paper public record.
B. Providing electronic records. If a requestor requests a record in an electronic format, the public records officer will provide the nonexempt record or portions of such record that are reasonably locatable in an electronic format that is used by the City and is generally commercially available, or in a format that is reasonably translatable from the format in which the City keeps the record. Costs for providing electronic records are governed by Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 44-14-07003 (as enacted or as amended).
C. Customized access to data bases. With the consent of a requestor, the City may provide customized access under RCW 43.105.280 if the record is not reasonably locatable or not reasonably translatable into the format requested. The City may charge a fee consistent with RCW 43.105.280 for such customized access.
A. The Act identifies a number of types of records that are exempt from public inspection and copying. Additionally, a record is exempt from production if any "other statute" exempts or prohibits production. At the first City Council meeting of each year, the public records officer will file an informational list of exemptions, outside the Act, that restrict the availability of a record held by the City for inspection and copying. The public records officer will also publish this list on the City's website.
B. The law prohibits the City from disclosing lists of individuals for commercial purposes.
PRA-070: Costs of Providing Copies of Public Records
A. Costs for paper copies. There is no fee for inspecting public records. A requestor may obtain a standard photocopy of a record for fifteen cents per page. Before beginning to copy a record, the public records officer may require a deposit of up to ten % of the estimated costs of copying a record selected by a requestor. The public records officer may also require the payment of the remainder of the copying costs before providing all the records, or the payment of the costs of copying an installment before providing that installment. The City will not charge sales tax for copying a public record.
B. Costs for electronic records. The City will charge the actual cost of making an electronic copy of a record to a DVD or to a flash drive. The cost of scanning a paper record or a nonelectronic record is one cent per page. The City will not charge a fee for emailing electronic records to a requestor, unless another cost applies such as a scanning fee.
C. Costs of mailing. The City may also charge actual costs of mailing, including the cost of the shipping container.
D. Payment. Payment may be made by cash, check, or money order to the City.
PRA-070: Costs of Providing Copies of Public Records
A. Costs for inspecting a public record. There is no fee for inspecting public records.
B. Costs for paper copies. Fifteen cents per page for photocopies of public records or for printed copies of electronic public records or for the use of the City's equipment to photocopy public records.
C. Costs for scanned copies. Ten cents per page for public records scanned into an electronic format or for the use of the City's equipment to scan the records.
D. Costs for electronic records. Five cents per each four electronic files or attachment uploaded to email, cloud-based data storage service, or other means of electronic delivery.
E. Costs for transmission of electronic records. Ten cents per gigabyte for the transmission of public records in an electronic format or for the use of the city's equipment to send the records electronically.
F. Costs of digital storage media. The actual cost of any digital storage media or device provided by the City.
G. Costs of mailing. The actual cost of any container or envelope used to mail the copies to the requester, and the actual postage or delivery.
H. Costs are cumulative. The charges set forth in PRA-070 may be combined to the extent that more than one type of charge applies to copies produced in response to a particular request.
I. Costs for records on the city's website. The City may not impose copying charges for access to or downloading of records that the City routinely posts on its website prior to receipt of a request unless the requester has specifically requested that the City provide copies of such records through other means.
J. Deposit. Before beginning to copy a record, the public records officer may require a deposit of up to 10% of the estimated costs of copying a record selected by a requestor. The public records officer may also require the payment of the remainder of the copying costs before providing all the records, or the payment of the costs of copying an installment before providing that installment. The City will not charge sales tax for copying a public record
K. Payment. Payment may be made by cash, check, or money order to the City.
PRA-080: Review of Denials of Public Records
A. Petition for internal administrative review of denial of access. A person who objects to the initial denial or partial denial of a records request may petition in writing (including email) to the public records officer for a review of that decision. The petition must include a copy of or reasonably identify the written statement by the public records officer denying the request.
B. Consideration of petition for review. The public records officer must promptly provide the petition and any other relevant information to the Mayor. The Mayor will immediately consider the petition and either affirm or reverse the denial within five business days following the City's receipt of the petition, or within such other time as the City and a requestor mutually agree to.
C. Judicial review. A person may obtain court review of denials of public records requests pursuant to RCW 42.56.550 at the conclusion of two business days after the initial denial regardless of any internal administrative appeal.
D. Statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for an action under the Act is one year after the City's claim of exemption or the last production of a record on a partial or installment basis. RCW 42.56.550(6).