Chapter 1.18


1.18.010    Findings.

1.18.020    Public records index – Order – Maintenance not required.

1.18.030    Public records disclosure – Purpose.

1.18.040    Public records officer.

1.18.050    Production of public records – Generally.

1.18.060    Requests for public records.

1.18.070    Initial response to request.

1.18.080    Final response to request.

1.18.090    Inspection of records.

1.18.100    Copying fees.

1.18.110    Review of public records request denials.

1.18.010 Findings.

A. RCW 42.56.070(1) requires all cities and public agencies to maintain and make available a current index of various public records.

B. RCW 42.56.070(4) provides that if maintaining such an index would be unduly burdensome, 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 Palouse is comprised of several departments, which maintain separate databases and/or record keeping systems and would make it extremely difficult, if not physically impossible, and would interfere with city operations to compile an index.

D. 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.

E. The city produces, or receives, a large number of records each day and maintains a multitude of records in numerous city files.

F. The development and maintenance of a city index would be extremely costly and would provide little benefit to the public compared to the expense of maintaining the index.

G. The city’s operations do not allow for the addition, revision, or reassignment of duties of existing personnel so that an index may be developed and maintained.

H. Anticipated city revenues do not allow for additional staff for the purpose of creating and maintaining such an index.

I. Pursuant to Chapter 42.56 RCW, the city of Palouse will disclose all public records, including any indexes that are maintained by the city to the extent such records or indexes are not exempt from disclosure pursuant to Chapter 42.56 RCW or other applicable laws. [Ord. 864, 2009].

1.18.020 Public records index – Order – Maintenance not required.

Pursuant to RCW 42.56.070(4), the city council orders the following:

A. The city of Palouse is not required to maintain a current index of public records due to findings of the city council that the requirement to do so is unduly burdensome and would interfere with city operations and such a list is nearly impossible to create and/or maintain; and

B. Pursuant to Chapter 42.56 RCW, the city of Palouse shall disclose all public records and any indexes of public records maintained by the city to the extent not exempt from disclosure pursuant to Chapter 42.56 RCW or other applicable laws. [Ord. 864, 2009].

1.18.030 Public records disclosure – Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish the procedure for obtaining public records from the city of Palouse as required by Chapter 42.56 RCW as currently enacted or hereafter amended. [Ord. 864, 2009].

1.18.040 Public records officer.

A. The city clerk, who is the records management officer for the city, is hereby designated as the city’s public records officer.

B. Any person requesting public records of the city should contact the public records officer at:

City Clerk

City of Palouse

East 120 Main Street

P.O. Box 248

Palouse, WA 99161

509-878-1811 (Phone)

509-878-1320 (Fax)

Information is also available at the city’s web site at [Ord. 864, 2009].

1.18.050 Production of public records – Generally.

A. Unless exempt from disclosure pursuant to Chapter 42.56 RCW, as currently enacted or hereafter amended, or other applicable federal or state law, public records shall be available for inspection and copying. The city may make public records available on a partial or installment basis as records that are part of a larger set of requested records are assembled or ready for inspection or disclosure. Failure of the city to fully comply with any provision of this chapter shall not result in any liability imposed upon the city other than that outlined in Chapter 42.56 RCW, as currently enacted or hereafter amended.

B. The city need only disclose records to the extent required by state or federal law and nothing in this policy shall be interpreted as requiring the disclosure of any record that is not subject to disclosure by state or federal law. Generally, any record, or portion thereof, which is exempt from disclosure will not be disclosed, and information contained in the records may be removed to the extent necessary or permissible by law. The city is not required to create records or documents in response to a request for public records that do not exist at the time the request is made.

C. State law does not require the city to retain and/or maintain every public record it has ever created or used, and will follow the retention schedules set forth by the State Records Committee. [Ord. 864, 2009].

1.18.060 Requests for public records.

A. In order to track and promptly respond to all requests for public records, such requests shall be made in writing and delivered in person, fax, mail, or e-mail. Requests delivered by telephone or orally will not be accepted as valid public record requests.

B. The city will provide a public records request form that may be used by those requesting public records. The request must contain the following information:

1. The date of the request;

2. The name of the requestor;

3. The full address of the requestor;

4. The telephone number of the requestor;

5. A complete description of the requested record or related set of records;

6. The title and date of the requested record(s), if known;

7. The location of the requested record(s), if known;

8. Signature of requestor; and

9. Whether the requestor intends to inspect the records or to obtain a copy of the records, at the cost set forth in the city fee schedule.

C. In order to schedule staff time, and to help give accurate estimates of the time needed to fulfill a request, only a specific document, or specific set of documents, is allowed per request.

D. Requests for public records shall be submitted to the city clerk, or the deputy city clerk. The city clerk may authorize other city employees to make the initial response pursuant to PMC 1.18.070 to a request for public records. All requests shall comply with subsections (A) through (C) of this section. [Ord. 864, 2009].

1.18.070 Initial response to request.

A. The city shall make an initial response to the request for public records within five business days of receipt of the request. Depending upon the nature of request, the city may respond initially by:

1. Producing the record after the payment of applicable fees, if any;

2. Acknowledging in writing the city’s receipt of the request accompanied by an estimate of the time necessary for further response;

3. Denying the request in writing accompanied by an explanation of the basis for the denial;

4. Acknowledging in writing that the records responsive to the request are available for inspection or copying, and that pursuant to the city fee schedule a deposit is required for copies; or

5. Requesting in writing clarification of the request.

Written responses will be via e-mail provided an address is provided.

B. In the event that the requestor completes the city’s standard public records request form, the city may return a copy of the request to the requestor with an estimation of time necessary to provide a final response to the request. This indication on the form of the estimation of time constitutes and satisfies the city’s initial response required within five days of receipt of the public records request. This estimated time period is subject to change depending on the complexity and size of the public records request, as well as changing demands on staff time. Records provided in response to a public records request shall be those documents of record available for disclosure as of the date of the request. [Ord. 864, 2009].

1.18.080 Final response to request.

A. A public records request is not continuing in nature. In the event additional records are created after the date of the requestor’s original public records request, the requestor will need to submit a new request. Any records or portions of records disclosed by the city will be provided to the requestor in the same format as they are retained; provided, that any disclosable records contained on a computer or other electronic or mechanical device shall, at the discretion of the city, be provided in printed form, on disk, or in another format.

B. If the requestor specifies a format in which the records should be disclosed, the city will disclose the records in the requested format if: (1) it is determined that disclosable records exist; (2) the city is capable of providing the records in the format requested; (3) the format requested is reasonable and does not require additional staff time; and (4) the requestor pays all required fees.

C. The city’s response to the request shall be deemed complete and final upon: (1) requestor’s inspection of the records; or (2) in the event photocopies were requested, upon notification to the requestor that the photocopies requested are available for pickup and payment. [Ord. 864, 2009].

1.18.090 Inspection of records.

In the event a requestor chooses to inspect records, the city shall notify the requestor once the records which respond to the request are available for inspection. The records will be available for inspection during customary office hours. Records that have been pulled for inspection shall be made available to the requestor for a period of no more than 30 calendar days. In the event a requestor fails to contact the city clerk within 30 calendar days of being notified that the records are available for inspection: (A) the records shall be returned to the originating department; and (B) the requestor will need to submit a new request for the records and the process will begin anew. If an installment response to a records request is not viewed within 30 calendar days, the city is not obligated to fulfill the balance of the request. [Ord. 864, 2009].

1.18.100 Copying fees.

A. The city council is authorized to establish a rate schedule setting forth the copying fees. Payment of copying fees, whether photocopying or other form of duplication, shall be made pursuant to the rate schedule as established by the city council prior to the disclosure of the requested public records. In the event that it is estimated that the copying fees applicable to a particular records request exceed $25.00, or there is a previous unclaimed request, the city, at its discretion, may require the requestor to deposit a sum equal to 10 percent of the estimated cost prior to copying of the records. In the event the city makes a response to a request available on a partial or installment basis, the city may charge for each part of the response as it is provided to the requestor. If an installment response to a records request is not claimed or paid for within 30 calendar days, the city is not obligated to fulfill the balance of the request.

B. All payments shall be made by cash, money order, or check payable to the city of Palouse. Payment shall be made prior to the delivery of documents. [Ord. 864, 2009].

1.18.110 Review of public records request denials.

A. Any person who objects to the initial denial or partial denial of a records request may petition in writing to the public records officer for review of that decision. The petition shall include a copy or reasonably identify the written statement by the public records officer or designee denying the request.

B. The public records officer, in conjunction with the city attorney, will consider the petition and will either affirm or reverse the denial of the public records request.

C. Any person may obtain court review of denials of public records requests pursuant to RCW 42.56.550. [Ord. 864, 2009].