Chapter 2.84


2.84.010    Policy.

2.84.020    Definitions.

2.84.030    Information available to the public.

2.84.040    Records exempted.

2.84.050    Regulations.

2.84.055    Litigation disclosure.

2.84.060    Response to requests for public records.

2.84.070    Appeals.

2.84.010 Policy.

It is the intention of the City to provide prompt and reasonable access to nonconfidential public records according to law so that the people of the City may be well informed at all times as to municipal business. This chapter should be construed to require disclosure of public records of the City as required by AS 40.25, subject to the exceptions, exemptions, and privileges provided in this chapter, in AS 40.25, or as otherwise provided by law. [Ord. 08-25(A-2) § 1, 2008. Code 1981 § 1.80.010].

2.84.020 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter:

“City agency” means any department, division, board, commission, council, committee, or other instrumentality of the City.

“Public records” has the same meaning as in AS 40.25.220. [Ord. 08-25(A-2) § 1, 2008. Code 1981 § 1.80.020].

2.84.030 Information available to the public.

Except as provided by HCC 2.84.040, or by other provisions of City, State or Federal law, all nonexempt public records shall be open to inspection by any person during business hours, subject to any applicable regulations that may be adopted by the City Manager pursuant to HCC 2.84.050. [Ord. 08-25(A-2) § 1, 2008. Code 1981 § 1.80.030].

2.84.040 Records exempted.

The following records are confidential and exempt from disclosure to the public:

a. Communications between an attorney for the City and the City, or any agency, officer, employee, or representative of the City, that are made confidentially in the rendition of legal services to the City or to a City agency, officer, or employee;

b. Records prepared by any attorney for the City in the rendition of legal services or legal advice to the City or any agency, officer, employee or representative of the City. Records that must otherwise be disclosed because they are public and not subject to any exemptions cannot be withheld on the sole ground that they have been submitted to the City’s attorney;

c. The work product of an attorney for the City. This includes, without limitation, documents, records and communications prepared by or at the direction of the attorney containing a legal opinion, memorandum or other work product or information pertaining to any matter then in litigation or where litigation may be threatened or where a claim is asserted or may be threatened. This exemption does not extend, however, to any documents, records or other written communications that were public prior to the commencement of litigation or claim. Records that must otherwise be disclosed because they are public and not subject to any exemptions cannot be withheld on the sole ground that they have been submitted to the municipal City’s attorney;

d. All personnel and payroll records of City officers and employees, including, without limitation, employment applications, examination materials, other assessment materials, disciplinary records, and performance evaluations; except the following, which may be disclosed:

1. The employment application of a City official appointed by the City Council;

2. The employment application of the director of each department of the City, as defined in HCC 2.32.010 and 2.32.030;

3. Performance evaluations of a City official appointed by the City Council and department directors, but only to the extent the performance evaluations relate to the individual’s job performance and do not impugn an individual’s honesty, integrity, morality, reputation or character outside of professional performance;

4. The names and position titles of all City employees;

5. The current and prior positions held by a City employee;

6. The dates of appointment and separation of a City employee; and

7. The compensation rate authorized for a City official or employee, but the payroll records and compensation actually paid to an official or employee shall not be disclosed.

In the event of a request for disclosure of items described in subsections (d)(1), (2), and (3) of this section, the person(s) in question will be notified at least five days prior to release of such records;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

f. The name, address, telephone number, email address, or other information that would identify complainants in any formal or informal request that the City take action to enforce any law, ordinance or regulation, except as such disclosure may become necessary to a fair and just disposition of the enforcement proceeding;

g. The name, address, telephone number, email address, usage, and billing data of any customer using City services;

h. Financial, engineering, technical specifications, designs, or data from any person that, if released, might provide a competitive advantage to any person, engaged or potentially to be engaged in similar or related activities;

i. Information obtained by and in the custody of the City’s insurance providers and their agents, investigators and appointed attorneys regarding existing and threatened litigation and claims against the City. This includes information that is provided by them to the City; records disclosing reserve levels on litigation or claims against the City; records pertaining to the evaluation and defense of any litigation or claims against the City; and risk management files. “Insurance providers” include any insurance company, self-insurance, or joint insurance program;

j. Medical and related public health records concerning any person;

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

l. Records that are required or authorized to be kept confidential by Federal or State law or regulation, or by a protective order authorized by law or regulation;

m. Records that municipal governments engaged in collective bargaining consider to be privileged or confidential for purposes of successful collective bargaining;

n. Records that are required or authorized to be kept confidential by a privilege, exemption or other principle recognized by law or the courts;

o. Any personal information concerning any person the release of which could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy;

p. Records that are proprietary, privileged, or a trade secret in accordance with AS 43.90.150 or 43.90.220(e); and proprietary information that a person reasonably requires to be kept confidential to protect the property interests of the person providing the information;

q. The names, addresses, or other personal identifying information of people who have used the Homer Public Library, in accordance with AS 40.25.140;

r. Records concerning deliberations and drafts of decisions in quasi-judicial proceedings conducted by the City or any City agency. The final decision in a quasi-judicial proceeding is public;

s. When and for so long as necessary to protect the interests of the City, competitive bids, proposals, quotes, and similar offerings submitted to the City by any person in response to a request or solicitation by the City. [Ord. 08-25(A-2) § 1, 2008. Code 1981 § 1.80.040].

2.84.050 Regulations.

The City Manager shall establish regulations for the operation and implementation of this chapter and the Council shall review and approve such regulations. Regulations adopted pursuant to this section shall be posted in a conspicuous manner at City Hall. The regulations may include provisions as to the time, place, and manner of inspection of records and may also include, but are not limited to:

a. The requirement of payment of reasonable fees for production of records, including fees for statutorily authorized personnel costs required for search and copying tasks. The fees shall not exceed the maximum fees allowed under AS 40.25.110. If the person is unable to pay a required fee, and signs an affidavit to the effect that he or she is unable to do so, the City Manager may waive the fee. The regulations may also provide for waiver of fees, to be uniformly applied among persons similarly situated, when the cost is nominal or when the cost to arrange for and collect payments exceeds the fee.

b. The form in which the specified documents shall be made available. Documents need not be reproduced in the exact form or medium in which they are stored. However, any alteration of the form or medium of public records shall not change the substantive content of the information contained in the public record. When the actual content is changed, the nature of the change and why it was necessary shall be communicated to the requestor.

c. The requirement that a request adequately identify the record(s) in a written request.

d. Requirements for clarification or narrowing of requests that are too vague or so broad as to make it difficult to identify the information requested or to respond to the request with reasonable effort at a reasonable cost.

e. Other provisions to implement this chapter. [Ord. 08-25(A-2) § 1, 2008. Code 1981 § 1.80.050].

2.84.055 Litigation disclosure.

If a person requesting inspection of City records is involved in litigation, a quasi-judicial proceeding, or an appeal involving the City or a City agency in any judicial or administrative forum, the disclosure of records used for, included in, or relevant to that litigation, proceeding or appeal is governed by the rules or orders of that forum, and not by this chapter. In this section, “involved in litigation” means being a party to litigation, a quasi-judicial proceeding or appeal, or representing a party, including any person obtaining records on behalf of the party. [Ord. 08-25(A-2) § 1, 2008. Code 1981 § 1.80.055].

2.84.060 Response to requests for public records.

a. All requests for records shall be approved or denied by the City Manager. The manager or his designee shall, consistent with the orderly conduct of City business, make a good faith and reasonable effort to locate records that are adequately identified in the request. The City Manager will provide a reasonably prompt response to each request.

b. If a request is denied or the requested records cannot be identified or promptly located with good faith and reasonable effort, a brief written explanation will be given. [Ord. 08-25(A-2) § 1, 2008. Code 1981 § 1.80.060].

2.84.070 Appeals.

a. Any denial of a request for inspection of records may be appealed to the City Council by the person making the request. An appeal must be filed in writing within 30 days after the request is denied. Failure to timely appeal from a denial waives all rights of appeal.

b. The City Council will consider and decide the appeal within 30 days.

c. An appeal from the decision of the Council may be made to the Superior Court within 30 days after the Council’s decision is distributed to the parties. [Ord. 08-25(A-2) § 1, 2008. Code 1981 § 1.80.070].