Chapter 2.48


2.48.010    Relationship to Public Records Act.

2.48.020    Public records officer.

2.48.030    Maintenance of records.

2.48.040    Index of public records – Findings.

2.48.050    Index of public records – Order.

2.48.060    Disclosure of public records.

2.48.070    Procedure for inspection or copying.

2.48.075    Access to public records.

2.48.080    Processing public records requests.

2.48.085    Review of denials of public records requests.

2.48.090    Exemptions.

2.48.100    Reimbursement for copying costs.

2.48.110    Model rules and administrative procedures.

2.48.120    Misuse of public records – Penalty.

2.48.010 Relationship to Public Records Act.

This chapter sets forth the city’s rules and regulations to locally implement the Public Records Act codified at Chapter 42.56 RCW. (Ord. 843 § 1, 2009).

2.48.020 Public records officer.

The city clerk shall serve as the city’s public records officer and records custodian for all records other than those maintained by the police department. The police chief or his or her designee shall serve as the public records officer and records custodian for police department records. Contact information for the city clerk and police records officer will be made available to the public in a manner reasonably calculated to provide notice thereof, such as posting at City Hall or on the city’s Internet website. (Ord. 843 § 1, 2009).

2.48.030 Maintenance 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, statements of general policy, and all public contracts, deeds, easements and leases shall be indexed and maintained by the city clerk. All police department records will be indexed and maintained by the police chief or his or her designee. (Ord. 843 § 1, 2009).

2.48.040 Index of public records – Findings.

(1) The Public Records Act generally requires all public agencies to maintain and make available a current index of all public records.

(2) RCW 42.56.070(4) provides that an agency need not maintain such an index if to do so would be unduly burdensome, but the agency must issue and publish a formal order specifying the reasons why and the extent to which compliance would be unduly burdensome or would interfere with agency operations.

(3) The city is comprised of numerous departments, their divisions and subdivisions, many if not all of which maintain separate databases and/or systems for the indexing of records and information.

(4) Because the city has records which are diverse, complex and stored in multiple locations and in multiple computer systems, formats and/or databases, it would be unduly burdensome, if not physically impossible, to maintain a current index of all records. (Ord. 843 § 1, 2009).

2.48.050 Index of public records – Order.

Based upon the findings set forth in NPMC 2.48.040, and pursuant to RCW 42.56.070(4), the city council orders the following:

(1) The city is not required to maintain an all-inclusive index of public records due to the undue burden and near-impossibility of maintaining such an index.

(2) The city will make available for inspection and/or copying all public records, including any indexes that are maintained by the city as set forth in NPMC 2.48.030, except to the extent that such records are exempt from public disclosure. (Ord. 843 § 1, 2009).

2.48.060 Disclosure of public records.

Unless exempt from disclosure under this chapter or other law, public records shall be made available for inspection and copying in accordance with this chapter. (Ord. 843 § 1, 2009).

2.48.070 Procedure for inspection or copying.

(1) All persons desiring to obtain police department records shall submit their request in writing to the police chief or his or her designee on forms provided by the police department. All persons desiring to inspect or obtain a copy of any public record other than a police department record shall submit their request in writing to the city clerk. To facilitate the records disclosure process, the city clerk shall create and avail for public use a standard request form to be completed by each requester and which contains the following information:

(a) The name of the requester;

(b) The calendar date of the request;

(c) An accurate description of the record(s) requested;

(d) A statement confirming that the requester will not use any list of individuals provided by the city for commercial purposes;

(e) A statement indicating whether the requester desires to inspect or receive copies of the requested record(s);

(f) The mailing address and/or telephone number of the requester, as well as the requester’s preferred contact method; and

(g) The signature of the requester.

(2) Reasonable assistance as may be necessary to help a requester locate particular records shall be provided either by the city clerk, by the police chief or his designee in the case of police records, or by the city department maintaining the records; provided, that the provision of such assistance shall not unreasonably disrupt the normal operations of the city clerk, the department, or the assisting employee.

(3) Except to the extent required or authorized by law, the city 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 Chapter 42.56 RCW or other statute or ordinance that exempts or prohibits disclosure of specific information or records to certain persons and/or for specified purposes. (Ord. 843 § 1, 2009).

2.48.075 Access to public records.

Disclosure of public records shall be governed by the following procedures:

(1) Public records shall be made available without disrupting essential functions of the office. Any city employee who believes that such essential functions would be interrupted by a request for public records shall consult with the city manager.

(2) Retrieval of records from any off-premises storage facility maintained by the city shall occur no more frequently than once per calendar week.

(3) Duplicate, carbon copy or other secondary records are to be dealt with in the same manner as the original or primary copy.

(4) With respect to photocopying that will occur at City Hall, prearrangement for copies of records is recommended so that the request may be accommodated within staff work schedule. Photocopying which cannot be completed at City Hall will be forwarded to an outside facility of the city’s choosing. The requester will be billed for such services at the city’s cost.

(5) Production of transcripts and reproduction of taped or digital recordings shall be completed in a manner that does not disrupt essential functions of the city. (Ord. 843 § 1, 2009).

2.48.080 Processing public records requests.

(1) Responses to requests for public records shall be made promptly pursuant to Chapter 42.56 RCW. Within five business days of receiving a written request for a record, the city clerk (or the police chief or his or her designee in the case of police department records) shall:

(a) Provide the record; or

(b) Acknowledge that the city has received the request and (i) provide a reasonable estimate of the time the city will require to respond to the request, or (ii) request a more accurate clarification of the request from the requester; or

(c) Deny the public record request in whole or in part.

(2) Public records may be made available on a partial or installment basis as records that are part of a larger set of requested records are assembled or made ready for public inspection or copying. Additional time to respond to a request may be based upon the need to clarify an accurate description 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 (or the police chief or his or her designee in the case of police department records) may ask the requester to clarify what information the requester is requesting. If the requester fails to clarify the request, the city need not further respond to or process the request.

(3) If the city clerk (or the police chief or his or her designee in the case of police department records) determines that the document is exempt in part but can be made available after deletion or redaction of exempt portions, the request shall be granted; provided, that such exempt portions shall first be deleted or redacted. If the city clerk or police chief or designee 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; provided, that nothing herein shall be construed as requiring the city to disclose portions of a requested document if the entire document is exempt from disclosure. (Ord. 843 § 1, 2009).

2.48.085 Review of denials of public records requests.

(1) Upon any denial of a request for a public record, the requester may initiate administrative review of the decision by submitting a written objection to the city clerk or to the police chief or his or her designee in the case of police department records. Upon receipt of any such written objection, the city clerk or the police chief or his or her designee shall refer the matter to the city manager who shall recommend affirming or reversing the original denial. The city shall thereupon provide a written response to the requester within two business days following the original denial. Such written response shall constitute the city’s final decision with respect to any written objection submitted by a requester.

(2) Administrative remedies shall not be considered exhausted until the city has provided a written response pursuant to subsection (1) of this section or until the close of the second business day following the requester’s submission of a written objection, whichever occurs first. (Ord. 843 § 1, 2009).

2.48.090 Exemptions.

The city adopts by reference the exemptions from public disclosure contained in Chapter 42.56 RCW, including any future amendments thereto or recodification thereof, along with any other express or implied exemption or exception to the Public Records Act provided by law, including but not limited to those exemptions set forth in Exhibit C to “Public Records Act for Washington Cities and Counties,” Municipal Research and Services Center, Report No. 61, July 2006, a copy of which shall be maintained in the office of the city clerk. (Ord. 843 § 1, 2009).

2.48.100 Reimbursement for copying costs.

(1) No fee shall be charged for the inspection of public records.

(2) Any person who requests a copy of any public record shall pay to the city clerk a copying charge. The copying charges for public records, including but not limited to photocopies, maps, photographs including slides, audio recordings, video tape recordings and diskettes shall be established by city council resolution; provided, that if the fee for a particular category of public record has not been specifically established by city council resolution, the amount of the fee shall be the maximum amount permissible by law and necessary to enable full recoupment of the city’s actual expenses incurred in reproducing the record. Nothing herein shall be construed to apply to accident reports pursuant to RCW 46.52.085, which shall be provided to requesters at the city’s actual cost.

(3) The city may charge all costs directly incident to shipping such public records, including but not limited to the cost of any postage and/or delivery charges and the cost of any container or envelope pursuant to RCW 42.56.070(7).

(4) The city may, at its discretion, require the requester to deposit a sum in an amount not to exceed 10 percent of the estimated cost of providing copies in response to a request. If the records are 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 paid for or reviewed within 20 days after the city provides notice of availability of the installment, the city shall not be obligated to fulfill the balance of the request. (Ord. 843 § 1, 2009).

2.48.110 Model rules and administrative procedures.

The city may, in its discretion, follow the Public Records Act Model Rules codified at Chapter 44-14 WAC on file at the city clerk’s office. Upon recommendation of the city clerk, the city manager may issue additional administrative procedures for the implementation of this chapter. (Ord. 843 § 1, 2009).

2.48.120 Misuse of public records – Penalty.

Any person who intentionally and unlawfully removes, alters, mutilates, destroys, disorganizes, conceals, erases, obliterates or falsifies any public record shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. (Ord. 843 § 1, 2009).