ORDINANCE NO. 2607
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SUMNER, WASHINGTON, AMENDING SUMNER MUNICIPAL CODE RELATED TO PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS, WHICH AMENDS SECTIONS 1.18.050; 070; 080; 090; and SMC 1.18.100 OF THE SUMNER MUNICIPAL CODE AND ADDS SECTION 1.18.105.
WHEREAS, Section 1.18.010 establishes the findings necessary to comply with State law regarding the fulfillment of public records requests in accordance with the Public Records Act; 42.56 RCW;
WHEREAS, various sections of The Public Records Act were amended or added effective July 23, 2017 in an effort to improve public records administration, requiring updates to the Sumner Municipal Code; and
NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SUMNER, WASHINGTON, DO ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Adoption. Sumner Municipal Code Chapter 1.18 shall be amended as follows, including the addition of Section 1.18.105:
- RCW 42.56.070(1) requires all cities and public agencies to maintain and make available a current index of various public records.
- RCW 42.56.070(4) provides that if maintaining such an index would be unduly burdensome, a city need not maintain such an index but it must issue and publish a formal order specifying the reasons why and the extent to which compliance would be unduly burdensome.
- The city of Sumner is comprised of numerous departments, and their divisions and subdivisions, which maintain separate databases and/or record keeping systems and would makes it extremely difficult, if not physically impossible, and would interfere with city operations to compile an index.
- Because the city has records which are diverse, complex and stored in multiple locations and in multiple computer systems and databases, it is unduly burdensome, if not physically impossible, to maintain a central index of records.
- The city produces or receives an uncountable number of records each day and maintains an uncountable number of records in numerous city files.
- The development and maintenance of a city index would be extremely costly and would provide little benefit to the public compared to the expense in maintaining the index.
- The city’s operations do not allow for the addition, revision, or reassignment of duties of existing personnel so that an index may be developed and maintained.
- Anticipated city revenues do not allow for additional staff for the purpose of creating and maintaining such an index.
- Pursuant to chapter 42.56 RCW, the city of Sumner will disclose all public records, including any indexes that are maintained by the city, to the extent such records or indexes are not exempt from disclosure pursuant to chapter 42.56 RCW or other applicable laws. (Ord. 2228 § 1 (part), 2007)
1.18.020 Public records index – Order – Maintenance not required.
Pursuant to RCW 42.56.070(4), the city council orders the following:
- The city of Sumner is not required to maintain a current index of public records due to findings of the city council that the requirement to do so is unduly burdensome and would interfere with city operations and such a list is nearly impossible to create and/or maintain; and
- Pursuant to chapter 42.56 RCW, the city of Sumner shall disclose all public records and any indexes of public records maintained by the city to the extent not exempt from disclosure pursuant to chapter 42.56 RCW or other applicable laws. (Ord. 2228 § 1 (part), 2007)
1.18.030 Public records disclosure – Purpose.
The purpose of this chapter is to establish the procedure for obtaining public records from the city of Sumner as required by chapter 42.56 RCW as currently enacted or hereafter amended. The city of Sumner will disclose all public records, as defined by state law, to the extent records are not exempt from disclosure pursuant to chapter 42.56 RCW or other applicable laws. (Ord. 2350 § 1, 2011: Ord. 2228 § 1 (part), 2007)
1.18.040 Public records officer.
- The city clerk, who is the records management officer for the city, is hereby designated as the city’s public records officer. The city administrator is authorized to establish and implement policies and procedures for responding to requests for public records to be consistent with those set forth in this chapter.
- Any person requesting public records of the city should contact the public records officer at:
City Clerk City of Sumner
1104 Maple Street, Suite 200
Sumner, WA 98390
Information is also available at the city’s web site at www.ci.sumner.wa.us. (Ord. 2228 § 1 (part), 2007)
1.18.050 Production of public records – Generally.
- Unless exempt from disclosure pursuant to chapter 42.56 RCW, as currently enacted or hereafter amended, or other applicable federal or state law, public records shall be available for inspection and copying. The city may make public records available on a partial or installment basis as records that are part of a larger set of requested records are assembled or made ready for inspection or disclosure. Failure of the city to fully comply with any provision of this chapter shall not result in any liability imposed upon the city other than that outlined in chapter 42.56 RCW, as currently enacted or hereafter amended.
- The city need only disclose records to the extent required by state or federal law and nothing in this policy shall be interpreted as requiring the disclosure of any record that is not subject to disclosure by state or federal law. Generally, any record, or portion thereof, which is exempt from disclosure, will not be disclosed, and information contained in the records may be removed to the extent necessary or permissible by law. The city is not required to create records or documents in response to a request for public records that do not exist at the time the request is made.
- State law does not require the city to retain and/or maintain every public record it has ever created or used. The city of Sumner has adopted a retention schedule that has been approved by the State Records Committee. (Ord. 2228 § 1 (part), 2007)
- The city is not required to retain records held by volunteers who (A) do not serve in an administrative capacity; (B) have not been appointed by the city to an agency board, commission, or internship; and (C) do not have a supervisory role or delegated city authority.
1.18.060 Requests for public records.
- In order to track and promptly respond to all requests for public records, such requests shall be made in writing and delivered in person, by fax or by mail. The city encourages requestors to send formal requests for public records by means other than e-mail because of the risk that the e-mail will be misdelivered or screened out and the city cannot guarantee that an e-mail request for records will be received and processed properly.
- The city will provide a public records request form that may be used by those requesting public records. The public records request form is available and can be downloaded from the city’s website at www.ci.sumner.wa.us. In lieu of submitting the request for public records on the city’s form, the request may also be submitted in other written format but must contain the following information:
- The date of the request;
- The name of the requestor;
- The full address of the requestor;
- The telephone number of the requestor;
- A complete description of the requested record;
- The title and date of the requested record, if known;
- The location of the requested record, if known; and
- Whether the requestor intends to inspect the records or to obtain a copy of the records, at the cost set forth in SMC 1.18.100.
- Requests for public records shall be submitted to the city clerk, or to a designated city employee pursuant to subsection (D) of this section. The city clerk may authorize other city employees to make the initial response pursuant to SMC 1.18.070 to a request for public records. All requests shall comply with subsections (A) and (B) of this section.
- The following designated city employees may receive public record requests directly for the specific records identified in this subsection for each designated employee.
- The records clerk of the police department, if the request is to inspect and/or copy a police or incident report.
- The records clerk of the Sumner municipal court if the request is to inspect and/or copy documents within the control of the court.
If the record requested is not identified in subsections (D)(1) and (D)(2) of this section, or the requestor is unsure of where to file the request, the request shall be filed with the city clerk/public records officer. If a request for a police or municipal court document is made to the city clerk/public records officer, it will be redirected to the applicable department for processing. (Ord. 2350 § 2, 2011; Ord. 2228 § 1 (part), 2007)
1.18.070 Initial response to request.
- The city shall make an initial response to the request for public records within five business days of receipt of the request. In the event a request for public records is received after 5:00 p.m., the request shall be deemed to have been received on the next business day. Depending upon the nature of the request, the city may respond initially by:
- Producing the record after the payment of applicable fees, if any;
- Acknowledging in writing the city’s receipt of the request accompanied by an estimate of the time necessary for further response;
- Denying the request in writing accompanied by an explanation of the basis for the denial;
- Acknowledging in writing that the records responsive to the request are available for inspection; or copying, and that pursuant to SMC 1.18.100 a deposit is required for copies; or
- Acknowledging that the city received the request and asking that the requestor provide clarification of a request that is unclear, accompanied by, to the greatest extent possible, a reasonable estimate of the time necessary for further response should the requestor not respond with clarification. If the requestor fails to respond to an agency request for clarification, and the entire request is unclear, the city need not respond to the request. If any portion of the request that is clear, the city must respond to that/those portions.
- In the event that the requestor completes the city’s standard public records request form, the city may return a copy of the request to the requestor with an estimation of time necessary to provide a final response to the request. This indication on the form of the estimation of time constitutes and satisfies the city’s initial response required within five days of receipt of the public disclosure request. Records provided in response to a public records request shall be those documents of record available for disclosure as of the date of the request. (Ord. 2228 § 1 (part), 2007)
1.18.080 Final response to request.
- A public disclosure request is not continuing in nature. In the event additional records are created after the date of the requestor’s original public records request, the requestor will need to submit a new request. Any records or portions of records disclosed by the city will be provided to the requestor in the same format as they are retained; provided, that any disclosable records contained on a computer or other electronic or mechanical device shall, at the discretion of the city, be provided in printed form, on disk, or in another format.
- If the requestor specifies a format in which the records should be disclosed, the city will disclose the records in the requested format if:
- It is determined that disclosable records exist;
- The city is capable of providing the records in the format requested;
- The format requested is reasonable and does not require additional staff time; and
- The requestor pays all required fees, as specified in SMC 1.18.100 below.
- The city’s response to the request shall be deemed complete and final upon:
- Requestor’s inspection of the records;
- In the event photocopies were requested, upon notification to the requestor that the photocopies requested are available for pickup and payment. (Ord. 2228 § 1 (part), 2007); or
- In the event electronic records were requested, upon notification to the requestor that the electronic records have been emailed or otherwise transmitted to the requestor.
1.18.090 Inspection of records.
- In the event a requestor chooses to inspect records, the city shall notify the requestor once the records which respond to the request are available for inspection. The records will be available for inspection during customary office hours. Records that have been pulled for inspection shall be made available to the requestor for a period of no more than 30 calendar days. In the event a requestor fails to contact the city clerk or designated records clerk within 30 calendar days of being notified that the records are available for inspection: (A) the records shall be returned to the originating department; and (B) the requester will need to submit a new request for the records and the process will begin anew. If an installment response to a records request is not viewed within 30 calendar days, the City is not obligated to fulfill the balance of the request. (Ord. 2228 § 1 (part), 2007)
- In the event the requestor requests electronic records, the city shall email or otherwise utilize a secure file transfer site to electronically transmit the responsive records to the requestor for viewing.The electronic records will be available for a period of no more than 30 calendar days. In the event the requestor fails to contact the city clerk or designated records clerk within 30 calendar days of being notified that the electronic records have been transmitted: (A) the link to the records, if sent using the secure file transfer site, shall expire; and (B) the requestor will need to submit a new request for the records and the process will begin anew. If an installment response to a request for electronic records is not viewed or opened within 30 calendar days, the city is not obligated to fulfill the balance of the request.
There shall be no fee for inspecting public records or locating public documents and making them available for copying, except as follows:
- Paper Copies. If the request exceeds twenty-five pages, the City may charge up to fifteen cents ($0.15) per page. If, at the City’s discretion, materials need to be copied by an outside source either due to volume, current workload of City staff, or for any other reason, or if agency equipment must be used to fulfil the request, the requester will be charged the actual amount incurred and/or invoiced to the City in fulfilling such request,
- Scanned Documents. The City may charge up to ten cents ($0.10) per page for all requests wherein public records are scanned into an electronic format, or for the use of agency equipment to scan the records into electronic format.
- Emailed Documents. The City may charge up to five cents ($0.05) per every four electronic files or attachments uploaded to email, cloud-based data storage services, or other means of electronic delivery, except as explicitly described in subsection D below.
- Electronic Records. The City may charge up to ten cents ($0,10) per gigabyte for the transmission of public records in an electronic format or for the use of City equipment to send the records electronically. Fees under this section shall also include the actual cost of materials used to transmit the electronic records (CD, thumb drive, etc). Requestors shall not be permitted to supply their/its own copying material for use by the City.
- Customized Service Charge. The City may charge requestor a customized service charge if the City estimates that the request will require the use of information technology expertise to prepare data compilations, or provide customized electronic access services when such compilations and cutomized access services are not used by the City for other City purposes. The customized service charge may reimburse the agency up to the actual cost of providing the services described in this section. Before assessing a customized service charge, the City Clerk or designated public records officer shall notify the requestor of the customized service charge to be applied to the request, with an explanation of why the customized service charge applies, a description of the specific expertise, and a reasonable estimate of the cost of the charge, and must provide the requestor with an opportunity to amend the request in order to avoid or reduce the cost of the customized service charge.
- Alternative Charge. The City may charge a flat fee of up to two dollars ($2.00) for any request where the City reasonably estimates and documents that the costs outlined above are clearly equal to or more than two dollars. If the City elects to charge the flat fee for an initial installment of a request produced in installments, the City shall not charge any additional fee(s) for subsequent installments on the same request.
- Deposit Required; When. In the event that it is estimated that the copying fees applicable to a particular records request exceed $25.00, or if the request requires the use of information technology expertise to prepare data compilations or provide customized electronic access services, the city, at its discretion, may require the requestor to deposit a sum equal to 10 percent of the estimated cost prior to copying of the records. In the event the city makes a response to a request available on a partial or installment basis, the city may charge for each part of the response as it is provided to the requestor. If an installment response to a records request is not claimed or paid for within 30 calendar days, the city is not obligated to fulfill the balance of the request.
- Postage and Mailing Supplies. Postage is charged at the actual postage costs of such postage, and envelopes and/or packaging are charged at the actual costs of those supplies.
- Accepted Payments. All payments shall be made by cash, money order, or check payable to the City of Sumner. G. The city has the authority to waive copying fees as described in this section. If the responsive documents are pages that are eight and one-half by 14 inches or smaller, the department may provide the first 25 pages free of charge. (Ord. 2228 § 1 (part), 2007)
1.18.105 Denial of request for all records or bot requests.
A public records request must be for identifiable records. The city may deny a request for all or substantially all records prepared, owned, used or retained by the city not relating to a particular topic. The city may also deny automatically generated (bot) requests received from the same requestor within a 24-hour period, if the request is deemed by the city to cause excessive interference with the other essential functions of the agency. For purposes of this section, “bot” shall mean a request that the city reasonably believes was automatically generated by a computer program or script.
1.18.110 Review of public records request denials.
- Any person who objects to the initial denial or partial denial of a records request may petition in writing to the public records officer for review of that decision. The petition shall include a copy or reasonably identify the written statement by the public records officer or designee denying the request.
- The public records officer, in conjunction with the city administrator, will consider the petition and will either affirm or reverse the denial of the public records request.
- Any person may obtain court review of denials of public records requests pursuant to RCW 42.56.550. (Ord. 2228 § 1 (part), 2007)
Section 2. Severability. The provisions of this ordinance are declared separate and severable. The invalidity of any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section or portion of this ordinance or the invalidity of the application thereof to any person or circumstance shall not affect the validity of the remainder of the ordinance or the validity of its application to other person’s circumstances.
Section 3. Effective Date. This ordinance shall be effective five (5) days from and after its passage approval and publication as provided by law.
Section 4. Corrections by City Clerk or Code Reviser. Upon approval of the city attorney, the city clerk and the code reviser are authorized to make necessary corrections to this ordinance, including the correction of clerical errors; ordinance, section, or subsection numbering; or references to other local, state, or federal laws, codes, rules, or regulations.
Passed by the City Council and approved by the Mayor of the City of Sumner, Washington, at a regular meeting thereof this 7th day of August, 2017.