Chapter 1.10


1.10.010    Procedure for handling Public Records Act requests.

1.10.010 Procedure for handling Public Records Act requests.

(1) Purpose. To provide guidance to District staff on the proper procedures to follow upon receiving a request for District records. It is the District’s intention to provide the public with available records, except those that are related to legal, personnel, or medical matters and, therefore, cannot be disclosed.

(2) Policy. Public records requests should be handled in accordance with the procedures outlined below.

(3) Responsibility. It shall be the responsibility of the District Manager to monitor compliance with this policy and procedure.

(4) Procedure.

(a) Receipt of Records Request. Upon receipt of any written or oral correspondence either identified as a public records request or asking for District records, a copy of the correspondence or a notice of the request shall be provided to both the District Manager and the District employee who has custody of the records. Note that under the Public Records Act (PRA), there is no formal, legally mandated form for requests. Thus, requests may be made orally or in writing, in person or through written e-mail or telephone, etc.

The District should retain a log of records requests indicating the date received, the response compliance date, the date of the District response, and the disposition of the request by the District.

(b) Processing of Requests.

(i) The District Manager, or designee, shall review the request to determine whether a legal review is required before the request can be processed.

(A) Should a legal review be required, the District Manager should notify the District’s legal counsel and request a review, specifying the timeline, keeping in mind that the District must respond to the request, in writing, within 10 days of the request. This does not mean that the District must provide the records within 10 days; it means that the District must respond to the party making the request within 10 days as to how the District intends to proceed.

In unusual circumstances, the District may extend the time for this response by an additional 14 calendar days. If this route is taken, the District must inform the requesting party of the extension in writing, set forth the reasons for the extension, and state the date on which a response is expected to be sent out (Cal. Gov’t Code § 6253(a)).

(ii) Should no legal review be required, the District Manager should review the request to determine whether the District retains the records in the form requested, and, if so, the anticipated copying costs. Additionally, costs may include estimates for the staff time to copy the records.

(A) If the District does retain the records in the form requested, the District Manager shall advise the party requesting the records of the anticipated cost of copying the records to determine whether the party requesting the records still wants them. The party requesting the records shall pay in advance of receiving them.

(B) If the District does not retain the records in any form, the District Manager should inform the requesting party.

(C) If the District retains the records, but not in the form requested, the District Manager should contact the District’s legal counsel to determine whether the District has met its obligations under the terms of the request and can inform the requesting party that the records are unavailable. Alternatively, the District could notify the party requesting the records that it does not retain the records in the form requested, advise them of the form in which the requested records are retained, provide an estimate of the duplication costs, and ask if the requesting party still wishes to receive the records.

Note that, under California law, the District has a duty “to assist the requester.” Thus, even if it receives a poorly focused request, the District must still (1) assist the requester in identifying records and information that are responsive to the purpose of the request; (2) describe the information storage retrieval technology used by the District and the physical location in which the records exist; and (3) provide suggestions for overcoming any practical basis for denying access to the records or information sought.

(iii) Upon completing the analysis of a records request, if appropriate, the District Manager should have the records copied and forwarded to the requesting party once any applicable payment is received.

(c) Exceptions. While the District Manager or District legal counsel will usually make the final determination in complex PRA requests, there is a list of common exceptions to the PRA (i.e., items that are not subject to disclosure). While the list of exceptions is long and subject to case law and statutory change, some illustrative exceptions are: trade secrets, attorney-client privileged information, protected personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, preliminary drafts or notes, and certain critical infrastructure information that has been submitted to the Department of Homeland Security. These examples of exceptions are provided so that staff may “issue spot” problematic requests.

(5) Administration Fees.

Photocopying or Printing*:


Black & White – 8 1/2 x 11


Black & White – 8 1/2 x 14


Black & White – 11 x 17


Black & White – Large Format

Cost from outside vendor

Color – 8 1/2 x 11


Color – 8 1/2 x 14


Color – Large Format

Cost from outside vendor

Duplication of CD/DVD

CD costs

Returned Checks


Staff Time**

Staff’s hourly rate

* Duplex copies are charged at twice the rate of single-sided copies.

** Staff time for completing copy jobs may be charged in certain circumstances.

[Unnumbered document adopted 1/25/2011.]