City of Rensselaer, NY
Rensselaer County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Rensselaer as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
CHARTER REFERENCES
Record of ordinances — See § 84.
GENERAL REFERENCES
Public record fees — See Ch. 97, Art. I.
[Adopted 12-19-1990 by L.L. No. 6-1990]

§ 51-1 Statement of purpose.

The purpose of these regulations is to set forth the methods and procedures governing the availability, location and nature of those records of the City of Rensselaer subject to the provisions of Article 6 of the Public Officers Law, known as the "Freedom of Information Law."

§ 51-2 Information to be open to public.

For the purposes of these regulations, any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with or for the City of Rensselaer, in any physical form whatsoever, including but not limited to reports, statements, examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photos, letters, microfilms, computer tapes or discs, rules, regulations or codes, shall be subject to disclosure in accordance with the provisions herein.

§ 51-3 Designation of records access officer; procedure for obtaining records.

A. 
The City Clerk of the City of Rensselaer shall be the custodian of the City records and, as such, is hereby declared to be the records access officer (referred to as the "RAO").
B. 
Procedure for obtaining records.
(1) 
Any person wishing to inspect and/or obtain a copy of any such record may make application to the records access officer. Such application shall be in writing on a form to be prescribed by the records access officer. Blank forms may be obtained from the records access officer either personally or by mail addressed to the City Hall. Completed forms may be submitted to the records access officer either personally at such office between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. or by mail addressed to such office or to such other office as the records access officer may specify on the application form.
(2) 
Upon receipt of such application, in the proper form and at the appropriate time, the records access officer shall search for the record requested. The records access officer shall, within five business days of the receipt of a written request for a record reasonably described, make such record available to the person requesting it, deny such request in writing or furnish a written acknowledgment of the receipt of such request and a statement of the approximate date when such request will be granted or denied.
(3) 
Upon payment of or offer to pay the fee prescribed therefor, the records access officer shall provide a copy of such record and certify to the correctness of such copy or shall certify that he does not have possession of such record or that such record cannot be found after a diligent search. The records access officer may, in his discretion, waive compliance with any formality prescribed by this section, including the use of application forms prescribed by the records access officer.
(4) 
Nothing in this article shall be construed to require the City of Rensselaer to prepare any records not possessed or maintained by the City of Rensselaer, except the records specified in § 51-4.

§ 51-4 Officer to maintain current list of records; voting and salary records.

A. 
On behalf of the City of Rensselaer, the records access officer shall maintain and make available for inspection and copying at the City Hall a current list, reasonably detailed by subject matter, of the types of records produced, filed or first kept in the City of Rensselaer on and after the effective date herein. Such list shall be in conformity with such regulations as may be promulgated by the Committee on Open Records. Any person desiring a copy of such list may request a copy thereof personally or by mail and one shall be supplied to him.
B. 
Every board, office, council or commission heretofore or hereafter established by the Common Council shall maintain and make available for public inspection a record of the final votes of each member in every proceeding in which he votes.
C. 
The City Treasurer shall maintain a record setting forth the name, public office address, title and salary of every officer or employee of the City of Rensselaer. This record shall be made available for public inspection and copying by the records access officer.

§ 51-5 Fees.

The fee for photocopies of records shall be $0.25 per page not exceeding nine inches by 14 inches in size. The fees for other types of copies or transcripts and for certificates shall be such reasonable amounts as the records access officer shall establish. The fees charged by the records access officer for records shall not exceed the actual cost of reproducing such record, except when a different fee is otherwise prescribed by law.

§ 51-6 Protection of personal information.

A. 
In accordance with the provisions of the Public Officers Law and in conformity with such guidelines as may be promulgated by the Committee on Open Records regarding the prevention of unwarranted invasions of personal privacy, the records access officer may delete from any record identifying details the disclosure of which would result in an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy prior to making such record available for inspection and/or copying. An unwarranted invasion of personal privacy includes, but shall not be limited to, the following:
(1) 
Disclosure of such personal matters as may have been reported in confidence to any agency or municipality and which are not relevant or essential to the ordinary work of the agency or municipality.
(2) 
Disclosure of employment, medical or credit histories or personal references of applicants for employment, except that such records may be disclosed when the applicant has provided a written release permitting such disclosure.
(3) 
Disclosure of items involving the medical or personal records of a client or patient in a hospital or medical facility.
(4) 
The sale or release of lists of names and addresses in the possession of any agency or municipality if such lists would be used for commercial or fund-raising purposes.
(5) 
Disclosure of items of a personal nature when disclosure would result in economic or personal hardship to the subject party and such records are not relevant or essential to the ordinary work of the agency or municipality.
B. 
In the event that the record is such that personal matters cannot be fully deleted without substantively affecting the record or the identifying details cannot be effectively deleted, the records access officer shall deny access to such record as provided in § 51-7 of this article.
C. 
Unless otherwise provided in this article, disclosure shall not be construed to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy:
(1) 
When identifying details are deleted.
(2) 
When the person to whom a record pertains consents in writing to disclosure.
(3) 
When, upon presenting reasonable proof of identity, a person seeks access to records pertaining to him.

§ 51-7 Grant or denial of access to records.

A. 
The records access officer shall make available for public inspection and copying all records, except that the records access officer may deny access to records or portions thereof that:
(1) 
Are specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal statute.
(2) 
If disclosed, would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy under the provisions of § 51-6.
(3) 
If disclosed, would impair present or imminent contract awards or collective-bargaining negotiations.
(4) 
Are trade secrets or are maintained for the regulation of commercial enterprise which, if disclosed, would cause substantial injury to the competitive position of the subject enterprise.
(5) 
Are compiled for law enforcement purposes and which, if disclosed, would:
(a) 
Interfere with law enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings.
(b) 
Deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or impartial adjudication.
(c) 
Identify a confidential source or disclose confidential information relating to a criminal investigation.
(d) 
Reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques or procedures.
(6) 
If disclosed, would endanger the life or safety of any person.
(7) 
Are interagency or intra-agency materials which are not:
(a) 
Statistical or factual tabulations or data.
(b) 
Instructions to staff that affect the public.
(c) 
Final agency policy or determinations.
(8) 
Are examination questions or answers which are requested prior to the final administration of such questions.
B. 
If the records access officer determines that an application to inspect and/or copy records pertains to information not exempt from disclosure under Subsection A hereof, he shall grant the application unless he determines that to do so would adversely affect the public interest. If the records access officer determines that an application to inspect and/or copy records pertains to information specifically exempted from disclosure in accordance with Subsection A hereof, he shall deny such application. In denying any application to inspect and/or copy records, the records access officer shall indicate his reason for such denial and shall advise the applicant of his right to appeal such denial to the Common Council.

§ 51-8 Appeals.

Any person whose application to inspect and/or copy records has been denied pursuant to § 51-7 of this article may appeal such denial to the Common Council. Such appeal must be in writing and must set forth the name and address of the applicant, the specific records requested, the date of the denial and the reasons given for such denial. Within 30 days of such denial, the Common Council shall, upon receipt of a written appeal, immediately review the matter and affirm, modify or reverse the denial. If the Common Council affirms or modifies the denial, it shall, within seven days of receipt of the appeal:
A. 
Communicate its reasons for such affirmation or modification to the person making the appeal.
B. 
Inform such person of his right to appeal such affirmation or modification under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
C. 
Forward to the Committee on Open Government a copy of such appeal and the determination thereon.
[Adopted 1-18-1995; amended in its entirety 1-25-1995]

§ 51-9 Records Management Officer.

The City Clerk is hereby designated the Records Management Officer pursuant to § 57.19 of the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, and the Mayor shall appoint any consultants and/or records management specialists and/or assistants to assist the Records Management Officer in the performance of his/her duties. The City Clerk shall receive no additional enumeration for acting as Records Management Officer. The Records Management Officer shall be responsible for the records management program established by this article and subsequent amendments thereto. Said officer, under the direction and supervision of the Office of the Mayor, shall be responsible for administering the noncurrent (inactive) and archival public records for the City of Rensselaer in accordance with local, state and federal laws and guidelines. Said officer, under the direction and supervision of the Office of the Mayor, shall also be responsible for overseeing micrographics and technology projects involving the City of Rensselaer records according to quality control specifications and guidelines.

§ 51-10 Powers and duties of Records Management Officer.

A. 
The Records Management Officer, under the direction and supervision of the Office of the Mayor, shall have the necessary powers to carry out the efficient administration of records, including policies and procedures development, the determination of value, use, preservation, storage and disposition of the noncurrent (inactive) and archival public records kept, filed or received by the offices and departments of the City of Rensselaer.
B. 
The Records Management Officer, under the direction and supervision of the Office of the Mayor, shall implement established guidelines for proper records management in any department or agency of the City of Rensselaer in accordance with local, state and federal laws, regulations and official policies and procedures.
C. 
The Records Management Officer shall report annually to the City Council on the powers and duties herein mentioned, including, but not limited to, the cost/benefit ratio and efficiencies and administrative economies of programs implemented by the Record Management Officer.

§ 51-11 Records center.

The Records Management Officer shall, with the prior approval of the Office of the Mayor, have at his/her disposal adequate designated space dedicated specifically for the storage, processing and servicing of noncurrent (inactive) and archival records for all local government departments and agencies. The records center will be administered by the Records Management Officer, under the direction and supervision of the Office of the Mayor.

§ 51-12 Disposition of records.

A. 
The Records Management Officer, under the direction and supervision of the Office of the Mayor, shall consult with the respective local government officers or department heads who have custody of the records of his/her respective office or department and with the local Records Advisory Board regarding the disposition of local government records.
B. 
Records shall be transferred to the City of Rensselaer Archives upon the recommendation of the Records Management Officer, according to policies and procedures, with the approval of the head of the department which has legal custody of the records and the approval of the Records Advisory Board. Records of local government agencies now or in the future defunct shall pass to the legal custody of the City of Rensselaer Archives.

§ 51-13 Replevin.

The City of Rensselaer Corporation Counsel, in consultation with the Records Management Officer, may take steps to recover local government records which have been alienated from proper custody and may, when necessary, institute actions of replevin.

§ 51-14 Records Advisory Board.

A. 
The Mayor shall appoint a Records Advisory Board of seven members. The Records Advisory Board shall be composed of the Records Management Officer, the Corporation Counsel, the Director of Planning and Development, the Mayor, the Computer Services Coordinator and one member of the Rensselaer Historical Society as designated by the Mayor. One member of the Common Council shall be appointed by the Mayor to serve as an ex officio member of the Records Advisory Board.
B. 
The function of the Records Advisory Board shall be to advise and make suggestions to the Records Management Officer on future improvements of the City of Rensselaer Records Management Program. The Records Advisory Board shall also establish guidelines for proper records management to be implemented by the Records Management Officer and oversee the implementation of the Records Management Program. The Board shall meet at least twice a year.
C. 
The Mayor shall call all meetings of the Records Advisory Board, at which time the Records Management Officer shall present progress reports of the program to the Board, review local government records management and archives policies with the Records Advisory Board and examine and discuss recommendations offered by the Records Advisory Board.

§ 51-15 Retention and disposition schedule.

A. 
The City of Rensselaer, adopts the Records Retention and Disposition Schedule MU-1, issued pursuant to Article 57-A of the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, containing legal minimum retention periods for municipal government records for use by all municipal officers in disposing of municipal government records listed therein.
B. 
In accordance with Article 57-A:
(1) 
Only those records will be disposed of that are described in Records Retention and Disposition Schedule MU-1 after they have met the minimum retention period prescribed therein; and
(2) 
Only those records will be disposed of that do not have sufficient administrative, fiscal, legal or historical value to merit retention beyond established time periods.