Chapter 1.14


1.14.010    Findings.

1.14.020    Public records index – Order – Maintenance not required.

1.14.030    Purpose.

1.14.040    Public records officer.

1.14.050    Production of public records – Generally.

1.14.060    Requests for public records.

1.14.070    Initial response to request.

1.14.080    Final response to request.

1.14.090    Inspection of records.

1.14.100    Over the counter records.

1.14.110    Copying fees.

1.14.120    Review of public records request denials.

1.14.010 Findings.

(1) Chapter 42.56 RCW requires all cities and public agencies to maintain and make available a current index of various public records.

(2) RCW 42.56.070(4)(a) provides that if maintaining such an index would be unduly burdensome, or would interfere with city operations, 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 or would interfere with operations.

(3) The city of Puyallup is comprised of numerous departments, and their divisions and subdivisions, which maintain separate databases and/or record keeping 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 and databases, it is unduly burdensome, if not physically impossible, to maintain a central index of records.

(5) The city produces or receives an uncountable number of records each day, and maintains an uncountable number of records in numerous city files.

(6) The development and maintenance of a city index would be extremely costly, and would provide little benefit to the public compared to the expense in maintaining the index.

(7) 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.

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

(9) Pursuant to Chapter 42.56 RCW, the city of Puyallup 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. 2874 § 1, 2006; Ord. 2696 § 1, 2001).

1.14.020 Public records index – Order – Maintenance not required.

Based upon the findings set forth in PMC 1.14.010, and pursuant to RCW 42.56.070(4)(a), the city council orders the following:

(1) The city of Puyallup is not required to maintain a current index of public records due to findings of the city council that the requirement is unduly burdensome and would interfere with city operations and such a list is nearly impossible to create and/or maintain; and

(2) Pursuant to Chapter 42.56 RCW, the city of Puyallup 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. 2874 § 1, 2006; Ord. 2696 § 1, 2001).

1.14.030 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish the process for obtaining public records from the city of Puyallup as required by Chapter 42.56 RCW as currently enacted or hereafter amended. (Ord. 2874 § 1, 2006; Ord. 2696 § 1, 2001).

1.14.040 Public records officer.

(1) The city clerk, who is the records management officer for the city, is hereby designated as the city’s public records officer. The city manager is authorized to establish and implement policies and procedures for responding to requests for public records in addition to those set forth in this chapter.

(2) Any person requesting public records of the city should contact the public records officer at:

City Clerk

330 Third St. NW

Puyallup, WA 98371

(253) 841-5480

Information is also available at the city’s web site at (Ord. 2874 § 1, 2006).

1.14.050 Production of public records – Generally.

(1) 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 made 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.

(2) 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. (Ord. 2874 § 1, 2006).

1.14.060 Requests for public records.

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

(2) The city will provide a public records request form that may be used by those requesting public records. The public records request may be submitted on the form provided by the city, or in another written format that contains the following information:

(a) The date of the request;

(b) The name of the requestor;

(c) The full address of the requestor;

(d) The telephone number of the requestor;

(e) A complete description of the requested record;

(f) The title and date of the requested record, if known;

(g) The location of the requested record, if known; and

(h) Whether the requestor intends to inspect the records or to obtain a copy of the records, at the cost set forth in PMC 1.14.110.

(3) Requests for public records shall be submitted to the city clerk, or to a designated city employee pursuant to subsection (4) of this section. The city clerk may authorize other city employees to make the initial response pursuant to PMC 1.14.070 to a request for public records. All requests shall comply with subsections (1) and (2) of this section.

(4) The following designated city employees may receive public records requests directly for the specific records identified in this subsection for each designated employee.

(a) The records manager of the police department, if the request is to inspect and/or copy a police or incident report.

(b) The records manager of the fire department, if the request is to inspect and/or copy a fire report or an aid report.

(c) The records manager of the development services department, if the request is to inspect and/or copy a public works or planning file which the departmental records manager, in his or her own discretion, determines to be readily available and easily accessible to the requestor without significant staff time expended. In the event the departmental records manager believes that the request cannot be fulfilled without staff impacts, then he or she shall request the requestor complete and submit a public records request.

If the record requested is not identified in subsections (a) through (c) of this section, or the requestor is unsure of where to file the request, the request shall be filed with the city clerk. (Ord. 2874 § 1, 2006).

1.14.070 Initial response to request.

(1) The city shall make an initial response to the request for public records within five business days of receipt of the request. In the event a request for public records is received after 5:00 p.m., the request shall be deemed to have been received on the next business day. Depending upon the nature of the request, the city may respond initially by:

(a) Producing the record after the payment of applicable fees, if any;

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

(c) Denying the request in writing accompanied by an explanation of the basis for the denial;

(d) Acknowledging in writing that the records responsive to the request are available for inspection or copying, and that pursuant to PMC 1.14.110 a deposit is required for copies; or

(e) Requesting in writing clarification of the request.

(2) 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 disclosure request. 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. 2874 § 1, 2006).

1.14.080 Final response to request.

(1) A public disclosure 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.

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

(3) The city’s response to the request shall be deemed complete and final upon: (a) requestor’s inspection of the records; or (b) in the event photocopies were requested, upon notification to the requestor that the photocopies requested are available for payment and pick-up. (Ord. 2874 § 1, 2006).

1.14.090 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 requester 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. 2874 § 1, 2006).

1.14.100 Over the counter records.

Each city department may designate within its own department certain “over the counter” records available to the public for immediate inspection without the requirement of a formal public records request as set forth in this section. In the event a copy of such “over the counter” records is requested, and if the requested record is an eight-and-one-half-by-14-inch page or smaller, the department may provide the first 25 pages free of charge. However, if the photocopies exceed 25 pages, a public disclosure request will then need to be completed and the applicable duplication cost paid. (Ord. 2874 § 1, 2006).

1.14.110 Copying fees.

(1) Payment of copying fees, whether photocopying or other form of duplication, shall be made pursuant to the rate schedule as established by resolution of the 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 exceeds $25.00, 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 within 30 calendar days, the city is not obligated to fulfill the balance of the request.

(2) All payments shall be made by cash, money order, or check payable to the city of Puyallup. Payment shall be made in person to the records manager of the police, fire, and development services department or at the customer service desk located at city clerk’s office. Payments may also be made by mail to the city clerk.

(3) The city has the authority to waive copying fees as described in this section. If the responsive documents are pages that are eight and one-half by 14 inches or smaller, the department may provide the first 25 pages free of charge. (Ord. 2874 § 1, 2006).

1.14.120 Review of public records request denials.

(1) 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.

(2) The public records officer, in conjunction with the city manager, will consider the petition and will either affirm or reverse the denial of the public records request.

(3) Any person may obtain court review of denials of public records requests pursuant to RCW 42.56.550. (Ord. 2874 § 1, 2006).