Internal Policy and Procedures
Records, Public Access
Requests for access to public records will be handled to comply with the legislative intent.
1. Bid Records:
1.1 Bid documents for official sealed bids will not be available for inspection by the public until the award or letters of intent are mailed. A summary of the information disclosed at the bid opening is made available to the public upon request as soon as practical after the opening.
2. All Other Records:
2.1 Per State Statue 19.35 (1)(h), the request may be made orally, but must be in writing before any action is taken to fulfill the request. This makes it easier to find the exact records being requested. A request for records without a reasonable limitation as to subject matter or length of time represented does not constitute a sufficient request. No request may be refused because the requestor is unwilling to be identified or state the purpose of the request (State Statute 19.35 (1)(i)).
Be sure that what is being requested is actually a record and one that we have. A new record is not to be created by extracting information from existing records and compiling the information in a new format (State Statute 19.35(l)(L)). Per 19.32(2) the definition of a record is any materials on which written, drawn, printed, spoken, visual or electromagnetic information is record or preserved. This includes, but is not limited to, handwritten, typed or printed pages, maps, charts, photographs, films, recordings, tapes (including computer tapes), computer printouts and optical disks. ) If we do not have the record, you may suggest alternate sources but the burden is on the requester to locate the authority with custody of the documents.
2.2 Inquiries from individuals identifying themselves as "an attorney representing xxx of xxx company" should be responded to in the following manner: "We are represented by counsel and upon advice of counsel, you are to contact them. Please contact (name of current counsel) at (608) XXX-XXXX." Then refer the call to Legal Services transmitting any necessary background information to help counsel.
2.3 News Media' requests require steps 2.1, 2.4 and 2.5. In addition, a supervisor or the Director will inform the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Business Services, and the Associate Director of News and Public Affairs Office (2-0925). They will determine who will return the call.
2.4 Advise the requester you will notify them as soon as the records have been examined to determine whether they are subject to release. As the law allows for some restrictions on access, and we occasionally are not the creator of the records we hold, the division or department that originally created them must be contacted to determine whether or not the records are exempt from public access.
Notify your supervisor and Director of the open records request. They will decide if and who will contact Legal Services as well as the creator of the original record. Legal Services and the creator of the record will determine if there is any reason to withhold release of the record and tell you how to proceed. Inform the requester that they may incur research and/or photocopy costs.
2.5 Obtain the records as allowed. State Statue 19.35(l)(L) makes it clear that we do not need to create a record which doesn’t exist and 19.35(1)(h) requires the request be for a reasonable amount of subject matter and covering a reasonable length of time. For example, if someone requests records for the travel cost and labor on the maintenance call for a piece of equipment, you would be free to say that we only can provide the charge for the total maintenance call as we do not have a break down on record.
2.6 Search and/or photocopy fees are allowed, per State Statue 19.35(3), but may not exceed the actual, necessary and direct cost of reproduction or transcription of the record. Staff should inform requester of estimated total costs. A Program Assistant will be asked to assist by counting the number of pages to be copied and then preparing the file for transmittal (copying) after the requestor has approved the cost quotation. Staff must decide which of the following option(s) are appropriate:
2.6.1 Search costs -- generally considered to be data in printed or non-printed (computer data) format that is stored in archival off-site locations. Costs would be determined by the unit doing the search, and may not involve providing photocopies.
2.6.2 Photocopy costs -- will be $5.00 minimum plus $.25 per copy (whether simplex or duplex). Charge may be assessed for any number of copies but generally fewer than 10 copies would not be charged.
2.6.3 Postage costs -- Because 21 N Park does not have a mail room for weighing packages, estimate the postage.
2.6.4 Payment in person with invoice: requester may bring payment (a check or cash) prior to obtaining the requested information or copies.
2.6.5 Preparing the invoice: Agent or designee will prepare invoice.
2.6.6 Presenting invoice with copies: If requester requires invoice, invoice will be presented for payments at time copies are picked up.
2.6.7 Invoice mailed, payment received before sending copies. Copies will be mailed after payment is received.
Program Assistant to the Director will follow procedures established by Business Services Division secretary to deposit check into account.Agent will be responsible for appropriate follow up if payment is not received within two weeks.
State Statutes Sections 19.31-19.37 and 19.85
PRO-D-23 “Public Records Access”