Chapter 2.10
INSPECTION AND COPYING OF PUBLIC RECORDS

Sections:

2.10.010    Definitions.

2.10.020    Inspection and copying.

2.10.030    Response to requests for inspection and copying.

2.10.040    Research not to be performed – Public records not sufficiently identified.

2.10.050    Certain public records exempt from inspection and copying – Deletion of exempt portions thereof.

2.10.060    Electronic communication initiated by city council members.

2.10.070    Repealed.

2.10.080    Costs and expenses for inspection and copying.

2.10.090    Findings on order regarding public records index.

2.10.095    Order regarding public records index.

2.10.010 Definitions.

(1) “Nonpublic record” means any writing containing information not relating to the conduct of government, and not relating to the performance of any governmental or proprietary function, retained or in the possession of the city regardless of form or characteristics.

(2) “Public record” means 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 regardless of form or characteristics.

(3) “Writing” means handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing and every other means of recording any form of communication or representation, including, but not limited to, letters, words, pictures, sounds or symbols, or combination thereof, and all papers, maps, magnetic or paper tapes, photographic films and prints, motion pictures, film and video recordings, magnetic or punched cards, discs, drums, diskettes, sound recordings, and other documents including existing data compilations from which information may be obtained or translated. (Ord. 3102 § 1, 2009; Ord. 2606 § 1, 1995).

2.10.020 Inspection and copying.

(1) Public records possessed by the city shall be available for inspection and copying between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. daily except for Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays and any other day City Hall is closed for business, unless otherwise agreed by the city clerk, or his/her designee, and the requesting party.

(2) All requests to inspect and copy public records shall be in writing, on forms prescribed by the city clerk, and shall identify the public records sought for such inspection and copying.

(3) Requests to inspect and copy public records shall be submitted to the city clerk or his/her designee, or to the public records representative of a department of the city. The city clerk shall maintain a list of the public record representatives for each department. The city clerk shall maintain a record of public disclosure requests made to the city. (Ord. 3119 § 2, 2009; Ord. 3102 § 1, 2009; Ord. 2606 § 1, 1995).

2.10.030 Response to requests for inspection and copying.

(1) Responses to requests for inspection and copying of public records shall be made promptly.

(a) A request for public records shall be responded to within five business days of receiving a public record request. The response must be made by (i) providing the record, (ii) acknowledging the city has received the request and providing a reasonable estimate of the time the city will require to respond to the request, (iii) denying the public record request, or (iv) a combination thereof. Additional time required to respond to a request may be based upon the need to clarify the intent of the request, to locate and assemble the information requested, to notify third persons or agencies affected by the request, or to determine whether any of the information requested is exempt and that a denial should be made as to all or part of the request. In acknowledging receipt of a public record request that is unclear, a city representative may ask the requester to clarify what information the requester is seeking. If the requester fails to clarify the request, the city need not respond to the request. Denials of requests must be accompanied by a written statement of the specific reasons therefor.

(b) If the request for identifiable public records is granted, the requesting party shall be provided with necessary assistance in performing the inspection, and copying equipment shall be made available or assistance in copying, except when and to the extent that such would unreasonably disrupt the operations of the city. Such copying equipment shall include that which is possessed by the city to either copy such public records on the same format (i.e., printed or written to be photocopied, electronic tape to electronic tape, computer stored information to a mass data storage device such as a diskette or USB drive (to protect the city’s computer system the requesting party shall only be allowed to use a mass data storage device provided by the city to the requesting party; the city shall provide such device at the same cost as to the city)) or converted to a readable format (i.e., computer stored information printed on paper), at the option of the requester or if there is no choice because such records must be redacted prior to release to the requesting party and such cannot be done electronically.

(c) If the city does not possess equipment to copy the requested public records in a manner or format sought by the requester, and if such equipment is available commercially, the person responding to such request shall determine the cost of such copying and notify the requester that the city does not possess the equipment to make the requested copies and the estimated cost of commercial copying.

(d) If the request for public records encompasses a large set of documents and/or it will take time to locate the requested records, the records may be provided to the requesting party on a partial or installment basis. The city shall not deny a request for identifiable public records solely on the basis that the request is overbroad.

(e) The city shall not distinguish among persons requesting records, and such persons shall not be required to provide information as to the purpose for the request except to establish whether inspection and copying would violate RCW 42.56.070(9) or other statute which exempts or prohibits disclosure of specific information or records to certain persons.

(2) Requests for inspection and copying of identifiable public records, received by mail, shall be honored if doing so does not require an excessive amount of research or retrieval time of city employees, does not excessively interfere with essential governmental functions, and if payment therefor is made in advance.

(3) Whenever a request for inspection and copying has been denied in whole or in part, the requester may present the matter to the city attorney for review; such review shall be conducted as promptly as reasonably possible, and shall constitute final action for the purposes of judicial review. (Ord. 3102 § 1, 2009; Ord. 2774 § 1, 2000; Ord. 2606 § 1, 1995).

2.10.040 Research not to be performed – Public records not sufficiently identified.

Written requests for inspection and copying of public records shall not be honored if such requests require city employees to compile information, perform research, require reformatting of data, if the public records sought by the requester are not sufficiently identified, or if the information requested to be inspected and copied consists of nonpublic records. (Ord. 3102 § 1, 2009; Ord. 2606 § 1, 1995).

2.10.050 Certain public records exempt from inspection and copying – Deletion of exempt portions thereof.

Public records described in RCW 42.56.210 (Certain personal and other records exempt), 42.56.230 (Personal information), 42.56.240 (Investigative, law enforcement, and crime victims), 42.56.250 (Employment and licensing), 42.56.260 (Real estate appraisals), 42.56.270 (Financial, commercial, and proprietary information), 42.56.280 (Preliminary drafts, notes, recommendations, intra-agency memorandums), 42.56.290 (Agency party to controversy), 42.56.300 (Archaeological sites), 42.56.310 (Library records), 42.56.320 (Educational information), 42.56.330 (Public utilities and transportation), 42.56.390 (Emergency or transitional housing), 42.56.420 (Security), 42.56.430 (Fish and wildlife), 42.56.460 (Fireworks), as now effective or as subsequently revised, and any other public records exempt from public inspection and copying by the laws of the state of Washington shall not be available for public inspection and copying; provided, however, when exempt portions of public records can be erased, excised or deleted, the remainder thereof shall be open to public inspection and copying. (Ord. 3102 § 1, 2009; Ord. 3005 § 1, 2007; Ord. 2606 § 1, 1995).

2.10.060 Electronic communication initiated by city council members.

Electronic communications (e-mail) initiated by members of the city council and simultaneously directed to three or more other members of the city council are declared to be public records and subject to public inspection and copying. Such electronic communication shall be maintained in accordance with the laws of the state of Washington. (Ord. 3102 § 1, 2009; Ord. 2606 § 1, 1995).

2.10.070 Electronically stored data and information.

Repealed by Ord. 3102. (Ord. 2606 § 1, 1995).

2.10.080 Costs and expenses for inspection and copying.

(1) The city shall impose no charge for the services of city employees who assist in inspection and copying of public records; provided, however, that if a city employee performs research other than information and/or data retrieval contemplated under Chapter 42.56 RCW, a charge equal to the hourly wages of such employee shall be paid by the person requesting the performance of such research.

(2) Copies of printed material shall be charged at the rate of $0.15 per page if performed on city-possessed copying equipment. If the response to any single request is more than 50 pages (eight and one-half inches by 11 inches or larger) the city may require the copies be performed by a commercial copy-maker at the expense of the requester. The city will arrange for such copies to be made; however, payment to the city by the requester shall be made in advance. If it is necessary to have copies made commercially due to size or configuration of the information sought to be copied, the requester shall pay the city in advance the cost thereof.

(3) The cost of video tapes or reproductions, magnetic tapes, diskettes, photographs, pictures, mass data storage devices and/or other communication media materials necessary to make copies of public records shall be at the cost of the requester, payable in advance before copies are made. (Ord. 3102 § 1, 2009; Ord. 2606 § 1, 1995).

2.10.090 Findings on order regarding public records index.

(1) The Revised Code of Washington (“RCW”) requires all cities and public agencies to maintain and make available a current index of all public records.

(2) The RCW also states that if maintaining such an agency operation, a city must issue and publish a formal order specifying the reasons why and the extent to which compliance would be unduly burdensome.

(3) When such an order is made, all indexes maintained by that city must be made available to provide identifying information on those records which are available for inspection and/or copying.

(4) The city of Longview is comprised of 14 departments, their divisions and subdivisions, which maintain separate databases and/or record-keeping systems for the indexing of records and information.

(5) 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.

(6) The city will fully comply with the provisions of the RCW as they relate to the Public Disclosure Act, under Chapter 42.56 RCW. (Ord. 3102 § 1, 2009; Ord. 3006 § 1, 2007).

2.10.095 Order regarding public records index.

Based upon the findings set forth in LMC 2.10.090, and pursuant to RCW 42.56.070(4)(a), the city council orders the following:

(1) The city of Longview is not required to maintain an all-inclusive index of public records, due to findings of the city council that the requirement is unduly burdensome and such a list is nearly impossible to create and/or maintain.

(2) The city of Longview shall make available all public records and any indexes created for internal use upon request by any citizen. Said indexes shall be maintained and released in order to obtain those records which are public and not protected by the exemption portion of the statutes, namely Chapter 42.56 RCW. (Ord. 3102 § 1, 2009; Ord. 3006 § 1, 2007).