Chapter 1.24PUBLIC DISCLOSURE

Sections:

1.24.010
Relationship to Public Records Disclosure Act.
1.24.020
Disclosure of Public Records.
1.24.030
Definitions of Public Records and Writing.
1.24.040
Copyright Enforcement.
1.24.045
Public Records Officer.
1.24.050
Maintenance of Records.
1.24.055
Index of Public Records - Findings.
1.24.060
Exemptions.
1.24.070
Procedure for Inspection or Copying.
1.24.080
Reimbursement for Copying Costs.
1.24.090
Decision on Public Records Requests - Procedure for Review of Decision.
1.24.100
Disclosure Prohibited by Other Statutes.
1.24.110
Model Rules and Administrative Procedures.
1.24.010Relationship to Public Records Disclosure Act.

This ordinance constitutes the City's rules and regulations to carry out and implement the Public Records Disclosure Act, Chapter 42.56 RCW. Except as provided in this ordinance, Chapter 42.56 RCW shall apply to all City public records. (Ord. 422 § 1 (part), 2006; Ord. 12 § 1, 1995.)

1.24.020Disclosure of Public Records.

Unless exempt from disclosure under this ordinance, public records shall be available for inspection and copying in accordance with this ordinance. (Ord. 12 § 2, 1995.)

1.24.030Definitions of Public Records and Writing.

A. “Public record” means (1) any writing, (2) any computer data and data bases and computer generated documents, maps and drawings and (3) any software and special applications for software developed by City officers and employees in the scope of their employment, 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 physical form or characteristics.

B. “Writing” means handwriting, typewriting, printing, Photostatting, 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 picture, 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. 12 § 3, 1995.)

1.24.040Copyright Enforcement.

The City recognizes that any software and special applications for software developed by City officers and employees in the scope of their employment are owned by the City pursuant to the copyright laws, 17 U.S.C., sections 101 and 201. The City will make available to all requesters a license to use such software so as to make use of all public data. (Ord. 12 § 4, 1995.)

1.24.045Public Records Officer.

The City Clerk or designee shall serve as the City’s public records officer for whom members of the public may direct requests for disclosure of public records. (Ord. 422 § 1 (part), 2006.)

1.24.050Maintenance of Records.

All substantive and procedural rules of general applicability, including but not limited to ordinances and resolutions of the City Council, minutes of the regular meetings of the City Council, and statements of general policy, and all public contracts, deeds, easements and leases shall be indexed and maintained in the office of the City Clerk for the use of the City and of the general public. (Ord. 422 § 1 (part), 2006; Ord. 12 § 5, 1995.)

1.24.055Index of Public Records - Findings.

A. Chapter 42.56 RCW requires all cities and public agencies to maintain and make available a current index of all public records.

B. RCW 42.56 provides that if maintaining such an index would be unduly burdensome, or would interfere with agency operation, 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.

C. The City of Lakewood is comprised of numerous departments, their divisions and subdivisions, which maintain separate databases and/or record keeping systems for the indexing of records and information.

D. Because the City has records which are diverse, complex and stored in multiple locations and in multiple computer systems, formats and/or databases, it is unduly burdensome, if not physically impossible, to maintain a current index of all records.

E. The City of Lakewood will make available for inspection and/or copying all public records, including any indexes that are maintained by the City pursuant to the Public Disclosure Act, Ch. 42.56 RCW and this chapter. (Ord. 422 § 1 (part), 2006.)

1.24.060Exemptions.

A. Any record which is exempt from disclosure under state law shall be exempt from public inspection and copying.

B. The exemptions from public disclosure shall be inapplicable to the extent that information, the disclosure of which would violate personal privacy or vital governmental interests, can be deleted from the specific records sought. No exemption shall be construed to permit the non-disclosure of statistical information not descriptive of any readily identifiable person or persons.

C. Inspection or copying of any specific records exempt may be permitted if the Pierce County Superior Court finds, after a hearing with notice thereof to every person interested and to the City, that the exemption of such records is clearly unnecessary to protect any individual’s right of privacy or any vital governmental function.

D. Nothing in this section shall affect a positive duty of the City to disclose or a positive duty to withhold information which duty to disclose or withhold is contained in any other law. (Ord. 422 § 1 (part), 2006; Ord. 12 § 6, 1995.)

1.24.070Procedure for Inspection or Copying.

A. Persons wishing to inspect or copy City records shall first make such request to the City Clerk or the department head of the City department which maintains the requested records. If the requestor does not know which department maintains the records, the request shall be made to the City Clerk. All assistance necessary to help the requestor locate the particular record shall be provided promptly either by the City Clerk or by the particular department maintaining the records. The provision of such assistance shall not unreasonably disrupt the normal operations of the City Clerk, the department, or the assisting employee.

B. The City Clerk or other City employee shall not distinguish among persons requesting records. Persons requesting records shall not be required to provide information as to the purpose for the request, except to establish whether the inspection or copying would violate RCW 42.56 or other statute or ordinance which exempts or prohibits disclosure of specific information or records to certain persons. (Ord. 422 § 1 (part), 2006; Ord. 12 § 7, 1995.)

1.24.080Reimbursement for Copying Costs.

A. Copies of written records, maps, photographs including slides, audio tape recordings, video tape recordings and diskettes shall be made and provided by the City upon request and payment of the actual cost of reproducing the same, which cost shall be established by City Council resolution.

B. Labor and mailing costs shall be included in the cost of reproduction. The costs include the actual cost of paper and per page cost for the use of copying equipment, costs directly incident to shipping including postage or delivery charges and the cost of any container or envelope and staff time to copy such public records pursuant to RCW 42.56. The costs of reproduction provided for by resolution shall include, but not be limited to, the following records: street maps, zoning maps, zoning codes, ordinances, public meeting minutes, resolutions, verbatim transcripts, deeds, contracts, and other records of the character contemplated in Section 1.24.010 of this ordinance.

C. The City may, at its discretion, require the requestor to deposit a sum in an amount not to exceed 10 percent of the estimated cost of providing copies for a request. If the request is made available on a partial or installment basis, the City may charge for each part of the request as it is provided. If an installment of a records request is not claimed or reviewed, the City is not obligated to fulfill the balance of the request.

D. Failure to Pay required fees. In the event a requestor fails to pay a bill for fees incurred within 30 calendar days, the City shall require the requestor to pay in full the past due amount owed before it will begin processing a new request or a pending request from the delinquent requestor. In addition, the City may require advance payment for any future requests of the full amount of the estimated fee before the City begins to process a new request or a pending request from the requestor. If the City is unable to collect the duplication fees from the requestor, the City may, upon providing thirty (30) calendar days prior written notice to the requestor, destroy the duplication set of records made available to the requestor in order to avoid storage concerns. Although the records are destroyed, the requestor shall still be made responsible for the costs the City incurred in duplicating the records originally requested by the requestor.

E. Where the request is for a certified copy, there shall be an additional charge in the amount established by City Council resolution to cover the additional expense and time required for certification.

F. The City Clerk or a department head may provide copies of City records at no charge to individuals or government agencies doing business with the City, if the City Clerk or department head determines such action is in the best interests of the City. (Ord. 422 § 1 (part), 2006; Ord. 12 § 8, 1995.)

1.24.090Decision on Public Records Requests - Procedure for Review of Decision.

A. Upon receiving an oral or written request to inspect or copy a public record, the City Clerk or the department head shall grant the request unless the City Clerk or department head determines that the record requested is or may be exempt from disclosure in whole or in part, in which case the City Clerk or department head shall require that the requestor complete a written request for public records form.

B. A department head shall immediately deliver a completed written request for public records form to the City Clerk.

C. Upon receiving a completed written request for records form, the City Clerk shall determine whether the requested record is exempt by law from inspection and copying in whole or in part. Within five business days of the date of receipt by the City of the written request for a record, the City Clerk shall:

1. Provide the record; or

2. Acknowledge that the City has received the request and provide a reasonable estimate of the time the City will require to respond to the request; or

3. Deny the public record request.

Additional time 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. If a public records request is unclear, the City Clerk may ask the requester to clarify what information the requester is requesting. If the requester fails to clarify the request, the City need not respond to the request.

D. If the City Clerk determines that the document is exempt in part but can be made available after deletion of exempt portions, or after deletion of portions which would violate personal privacy or vital governmental interests, the request shall be granted; provided, that such exempt portions shall first be deleted. If the City Clerk determines to deny the request, in whole or in part, a written statement of the specific reasons for the denial shall be provided to the requester.

E. A decision by the City Clerk denying inspection shall be reviewed by the City Attorney. Such review shall be deemed complete at the end of the second business day following the denial of inspection and shall constitute final City action for the purposes of judicial review. The requester shall be notified by mail of the decision to grant or deny the request. (Ord. 12 § 9, 1995.)

1.24.100Disclosure Prohibited by Other Statutes.

The City shall not be required by this ordinance to permit public inspection and copying of any record to the extent public disclosure of the record is prohibited, restricted or limited by any state or federal statute or regulation including, but not limited to, Chapter 10.97 RCW, the Washington State Criminal Records Privacy Act, Chapter 13.50 RCW, relating to release of records by juvenile justice or care agencies, or Chapter 46.52 RCW, relating to accident reports and abandoned vehicles. (Ord. 12 § 10, 1995.)

1.24.110Model Rules and Administrative Procedures.

The City shall follow the Public Records Act Model Rules on file at the City Clerk’s Office for complying with the Public Records Act. The City Manager, upon recommendation of the City Clerk, may issue administrative procedures for the implementation of this ordinance. (Ord. 422 § 1 (part), 2006; Ord. 12 § 11, 1995.)