Chapter 1.25
PUBLIC RECORDS

Sections:

1.25.010    Public records open to inspection and copying—Fees.

1.25.020    Disposition of tax information.

1.25.030    Electronic services and products.

1.25.040    Public records exceptions— Certified copies.

1.25.042    Personnel records confidential—Exceptions.

1.25.050    Copies of public records for veterans.

1.25.060    Litigation disclosure.

1.25.070    Supervision and regulation.

1.25.080    Appeals.

1.25.090    Enforcement—Injunctive relief.

1.25.100    Confidentiality of library records.

1.25.110    Definitions.

1.25.010 Public records open to inspection and copying—Fees.

A.    Unless specifically provided otherwise, the public records of the city and borough of Sitka are open to inspection by the public under reasonable rules during regular office hours. The employee having the custody of public records shall give, on request and payment of the fee established under this section or Section 1.25.030, a certified copy of the public record. The employee having custody of the public records shall give notice of response to the applicant within ten business days of the request.

B.    Except as otherwise provided in this section, the fee for copying public records may not exceed the standard unit cost of duplication established by the city and borough of Sitka.

C.    If the production of records for one requester in a calendar month exceeds five person-hours, the department shall require the requester to pay the personnel costs required during the month to complete the search and copying tasks. The personnel costs may not exceed the actual salary and benefit costs for the personnel time required to perform the search and copying tasks. The requester shall pay the fee before the records are disclosed, and the department may require payment in advance of the search.

D.    The municipality may reduce or waive a fee when the municipality determines that the reduction or waiver is in the public interest. Fee reductions and waivers shall be uniformly applied among persons who are similarly situated. The municipality may waive a fee of five dollars or less if the fee is less than the cost would be to the municipality to arrange for payment.

E.    Electronic information that is provided in printed form shall be made available without codes or symbols, unless accompanied by an explanation of the codes or symbols.

(Ord. 00-1561 § 4 (part), 2000.)

1.25.020 Disposition of tax information.

A.    Information in the possession of the finance department that discloses the particulars of the business or affairs of a taxpayer or other person is not a matter of public record, except as provided in AS 43.05.230(i) or for purposes of investigation and law enforcement. The information shall be kept confidential except when its production is required in an official investigation, administrative adjudication under Title 4, or court proceeding. These restrictions do not prohibit the publication of statistics presented in a manner that prevents the identification of particular reports and items, prohibit the publication of tax lists showing the names of taxpayers who are delinquent and relevant information that may assist in the collection of delinquent taxes, or prohibit the publication of records, proceedings, and decisions under Title 4.

B.    If a copy of a record of tax information is requested under subsection A of this section for the purposes of child support administration, the copy may be released only to the child support enforcement agency created in AS 25.27.010 or a child support enforcement agency of another state. The finance department shall provide the requesting agency with a copy of the record. The requesting agency receiving information under this subsection may use it only for child support purposes authorized under law.

(Ord. 00-1561 § 4 (part), 2000.)

1.25.030 Electronic services and products.

A.    Notwithstanding Section 1.25.100(A) and (B) to the contrary, upon request and payment of a fee established under subsection B of this section, a department may provide electronic services and products involving public records to members of the public. A department is encouraged to make information available in usable electronic formats to the greatest extent feasible. The activities authorized under this section may not take priority over the primary responsibilities of a department.

B.    The fee for electronic services and products must be based on recovery of the actual incremental costs of providing the electronic services and products, and a reasonable portion of the costs associated with building and maintaining the information system of the public agency. The fee may be reduced or waived by the department if the electronic services and products are to be used for a public purpose, including department program support, nonprofit activities, journalism and academic research. Fee reductions and waivers shall be uniformly applied among persons who are similarly situated.

C.    Notwithstanding subsection B of this section, the fee for duplicating a public record in the electronic form kept by a department may not exceed the actual incremental costs of the department.

D.    Departments shall include in a contract for electronic services and products provisions that:

1.    Protect the security and integrity of the information system of the municipality and of information systems that are shared by departments; and

2.    Limit the liability of the municipality providing the services and products.

E.    The municipality shall notify the state library distribution and data access center established under AS 14.56.090 of the electronic services and products offered by the municipality to the public under this section. The notification must include a summary of the available format options and the fees charged.

F.    When offering on-line access to an electronic file or database, a department also shall provide without charge on-line access to the electronic file or database through one or more public terminals.

G.    The municipality shall establish the fees for the electronic services and products provided under this section.

H.    The municipality may not make electronic services and products available to one member of the public and withhold them from other members of the public.

(Amended during 3/15 supplement; Ord. 00-1561 § 4 (part), 2000.)

1.25.040 Public records exceptions—Certified copies.

A.    Every person has a right to inspect a public record except:

1.    Records pertaining to juveniles unless disclosure is authorized by law;

2.    Medical and related public health records;

3.    Records required to be kept confidential by a federal law or regulation or by state law;

4.    To the extent the records are required to be kept confidential under 20 USC 1232g and the regulations adopted under 20 USC 1232g in order to secure or retain federal assistance;

5.    Records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of the law enforcement records or information:

a.    Could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings;

b.    Would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication;

c.    Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of a suspect, defendant, victim or witness;

d.    Could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source;

e.    Would disclose confidential techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions;

f.    Would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if the disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law; or

g.    Could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of an individual;

h.    Public records containing information that would disclose or might lead to the disclosure of a component in the process used to execute or adopt an electronic signature if the disclosure would or might cause the electronic signature to cease being under the sole control of the person using it;

6.    Material made confidential by Section 1.25.042.

B.    Every public officer having the custody of records not included in the exceptions shall permit the inspection, and give on demand and on payment of the fees under Sections 1.25.010 through 1.25.030 a certified copy of the record, and the copy shall in all cases be evidence of the original.

(Ord. 02-1671 § 4(A), 2002: Ord. 00-1561 § 4 (part), 2000.)

1.25.042 Personnel records confidential—Exceptions.

A.    Municipal personnel records, including employment applications and examination and other assessment materials, are confidential and are not open to public inspection except as provided in this section. This subsection does not apply to the records of the administrator or the attorney.

B.    The following information is available for public inspection, subject to reasonable regulations on the time and manner of inspection:

1.    The names and position titles of all municipal employees;

2.    The position held by a municipal employee;

3.    Prior positions held by a municipal employee;

4.    Whether a municipal employee is in a partially exempt or exempt service;

5.    The dates of appointment and separation of a municipal employee;

6.    The compensation authorized for or received by a municipal employee; and

7.    Time sheets submitted by a municipal employee.

C.    A municipal employee has the right to examine the employee’s own personnel files and may authorize others to examine those files.

D.    In addition to any access to municipal personnel records authorized under subsection B of this section, municipal personnel records shall promptly be made available to the child support enforcement agency created in AS 25.27.010 or the child support enforcement agency of another state. If the record is prepared or maintained in an electronic database, it may be supplied by providing the requesting agency with access to the database or a copy of the information in the database and a statement certifying its contents. The agency receiving information under this subsection may use the information only for child support purposes authorized under law.

E.    Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prohibit disclosure pursuant to a valid court order.

(Ord. 02-1671 § 4 (B), 2002.)

1.25.050 Copies of public records for veterans.

When a copy of a public record is required by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, or by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to be used in determining the eligibility of a person to participate in benefits, the official custodian of the public record shall, without charge, provide the applicant for the benefits, a person acting on behalf of the applicant, or an authorized representative of the department or the United States Department of Veterans Affairs with a certified copy of the record. (Ord. 00-1561 § 4 (part), 2000.)

1.25.060 Litigation disclosure.

A public record that is subject to disclosure and copying under Sections 1.25.010 through 1.25.040 remains a public record subject to disclosure and copying even if the record is used for, included in, or relevant to litigation, including law enforcement proceedings, involving the municipality, except that with respect to a person involved in litigation, the records sought shall be disclosed in accordance with the rules of procedure applicable in a court or an administrative adjudication. In this section, “involved in litigation” means a party to litigation or representing a party to litigation, including obtaining public records for the party. (Ord. 00-1561 § 4 (part), 2000.)

1.25.070 Supervision and regulation.

A.    The municipal finance department shall supervise and adopt regulations for the operation and implementation of Sections 1.25.010 through 1.25.040, subject to the approval of the municipal attorney.

B.    The regulations and procedures adopted under this section must include the establishment of procedures for making an administrative appeal of municipal actions taken under Sections 1.25.010 through 1.25.040 (Action includes the calculation of a fee, the denial of a fee reduction or waiver, and the denial of a request to inspect or copy a public record.

(Ord. 00-1561 § 4 (part), 2000.)

1.25.080 Appeals.

A.    A person may appeal the final administrative order made by a municipal department under Sections 1.25.010 through 1.25.100 to the Assembly.

B.    A person may appeal the final administrative order made by the assembly under Sections 1.25.010 through 1.25.100 to the Superior Court.

(Ord. 12-15 § 4, 2012; Ord. 00-1561 § 4 (part), 2000.)

1.25.090 Enforcement—Injunctive relief.

A person having custody or control of a public record who denies, obstructs, or attempts to obstruct, or a person not having custody or control who aids or abets another person in denying, obstructing, or attempting to obstruct, the inspection of a public record subject to inspection under Section 1.25.010 or 1.25.040 may be enjoined by the superior court from denying, obstructing, or attempting to obstruct, the inspection of public records subject to inspection under Section 1.25.010 or 1.25.040. A person may seek injunctive relief under this section without exhausting the person’s remedies under Sections 1.25.070 through 1.25.080. (Ord. 00-1561 § 4 (part), 2000.)

1.25.100 Confidentiality of library records.

A.    Except as provided in subsection B of this section, the names, addresses, or other personal identifying information of people who have used materials made available to the public by a library shall be kept confidential, except upon court order, and are not subject to inspection under Section 1.25.010 or 1.25.040. This section applies to libraries operated by the state, a municipality, or a public school, including the University of Alaska.

B.    Records of a public elementary or secondary school library identifying a minor child shall be made available on request to a parent or guardian of that child.

(Ord. 00-1561 § 4 (part), 2000.)

1.25.110 Definitions.

In Sections 1.25.010 through 1.25.110, unless the context otherwise requires:

“Electronic services and products” means computer-related services and products provided by the municipality, including:

1.    Electronic manipulation of the data contained in public records in order to tailor the data to the person’s request or to develop a product that meets the person’s request;

2.    Duplicating public records in alternative formats not used by a public agency providing periodic updates of an electronic file or database from a geographic information system;

3.    Providing online access to an electronic file or database;

4.    Providing information that cannot be retrieved or generated by the existing computer programs of the public agency;

5.    Providing functional electronic access to the information system of the public agency; in this subparagraph, “functional access” includes the capability of alphanumeric query and printing, graphic query and plotting, nongraphic data input and analysis, and graphic data input and analysis;

6.    Providing software developed by a public agency or developed by a private contractor for a public agency;

7.    Generating maps or other standard or customized products from an electronic geographic information system;

“Public records” means books, papers, files, accounts, writings, including drafts and memorializations of conversations, and other items, regardless of format or physical characteristics, that are developed or received by the municipality or by a private contractor for a municipality, and that are preserved for their informational value or as evidence of the organization or operation of the municipality; “public records” do not include proprietary software programs.

(Ord. 00-1561 § 4 (part), 2000.)