City of Lodi, WI
Columbia County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Lodi as Ch. 26 of the City Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 88-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meaning indicated:
AUTHORITY
Any of the following City entities or entities created by the City and at least one other governmental entity having custody of a city or joint agency record: an office, elected official, appointed official, agency, board, commission, committee, council, department, or public body corporate and politic created by constitution, law, ordinance, rule or order or a formally constituted subunit of the foregoing.
[Amended 3-15-2011 by Ord. No. A-418]
CUSTODIAN
That officer, department head, division head, or employee of the City designated under § 88-3 or otherwise responsible by law to keep and preserve any City records or file, deposit or keep such records in his or her office, or who is lawfully in possession or entitled to possession of such public records and who is required by this chapter to respond to requests for access to such records.
RECORD
Any material on which written, drawn, printed, spoken, visual or electromagnetic information is recorded or preserved, regardless of physical form or characteristics, which has been created or is being kept by an authority. "Record" includes, but it not limited to, handwritten, typed or printed pages, maps, charts, photographs, films, recordings, tapes (including computer tapes), computer printouts and optical disks. "Record" does not include drafts, notes, preliminary computations and like materials prepared for the originator's personal use or prepared by the originator in the name of a person for whom the originator is working; materials which are purely the personal property of the custodian and have no relation to his or her office; materials to which access is limited by copyright, patent or bequest; and published materials in the possession of an authority other than a public library which are available for sale, or which are available for inspection at a public library.
[Amended 10-10-2006 by Ord. No. A-361]

§ 88-2 Duty to maintain records.

A. 
Except as provided under § 88-7, each officer and employee of the City shall safely keep and preserve all records received from his or her predecessor or other persons and required by law to be filed, deposited or kept in his or her office or which are in the lawful possession or control of the officer or employee or his or her deputies, or to the possession or control of which he or she or they may be lawfully entitled as such officers or employees.
B. 
Upon the expiration of an officer's term of office or an employee's term of employment, or whenever the office or position of employment becomes vacant, each such officer or employee shall deliver to his or her successor all records then in his or her custody and the successor shall receipt therefor to the officer or employee, who shall file said receipt with the City Clerk. If a vacancy occurs before a successor is selected or qualifies, such records shall be delivered to and receipted for by the Clerk, on behalf of the successor, to be delivered to such successor upon the latter's receipt.

§ 88-3 Legal custodians.

A. 
Each elected official is the legal custodian of his or her records and the records of his or her office, but the official may designate an employee of his or her staff to act as the legal custodian.
B. 
Certain custodians designated.
[Amended 3-15-2011 by Ord. No. A-418]
(1) 
The City Clerk shall act as the legal custodian for the Common Council.
(2) 
The Chairperson of a committee of elected officials or the designee of the Chairperson is the legal custodian of the records of the committee.
(3) 
The following shall act as the legal custodian for the designated boards and commissions.
(a) 
Board of Review: the Clerk of the Board of Review.
(b) 
Community Development Block Grant Housing Commission: the Chairperson.
(c) 
Ethics Inquiry Board: the Chairperson.
(d) 
Historic Preservation Commission: the Chairperson.
(e) 
Library Board: the Secretary.
(f) 
Park Commission: the Chairperson.
(g) 
Plan Commission: the President.
(h) 
Police Commission: the Secretary.
(i) 
Utility Commission: the Secretary.
(4) 
The committee Chairpersons and others designated in this section as legal custodians may in writing appoint a member of City staff as the legal custodian for the records of the committee, agency or department.
C. 
For every authority not specified in Subsection A or B, the authority's chief administrative officer is the legal custodian for the authority, but the officer may designate an employee of his or her staff to act as the legal custodian.
D. 
Each legal custodian shall name a person to act as legal custodian in his or her absence or the absence of his or her designee.
E. 
The legal custodian shall have full legal power to render decisions and to carry out the duties of an authority under Subchapter II of Ch. 19, Wis. Stats., and this section. The designation of a legal custodian does not affect the powers and duties of an authority under this section.

§ 88-4 Public access to records.

A. 
Except as provided in § 88-6, any person has a right to inspect a record and to make or receive a copy of any record as provided in § 19.35(1), Wis. Stats.
B. 
Records will be available for inspection and copying during all regular office hours.
C. 
If regular office hours are not maintained at the location where records are kept, the records will be available for inspection and copying upon at least 48 hours' advance notice of intent to inspect or copy.
(1) 
If a record of an authority is occasionally taken to a location other than where records of the authority are regularly kept, the record may be inspected at the place where records of the authority are regularly kept upon one business day's notice. The authority or legal custodian of the record need not provide access to the record at the occasional location.
[Added 3-15-2011 by Ord. No. A-418]
D. 
A requester shall be permitted to use facilities comparable to those available to City employees to inspect, copy or abstract a record.
E. 
The legal custodian may require supervision during inspection or may impose other reasonable restrictions on the manner of access to an original record if the record is irreplaceable or easily damaged.
F. 
A requester shall be charged a fee to defray the cost of locating and copying records as follows:
(1) 
The cost of photocopying shall be set by the Common Council by resolution.
(2) 
If the form of a written record does not permit copying, the actual and necessary cost of photographing and photographic processing shall be charged.
(3) 
The actual full cost of providing a copy of other records not in printed form on paper, such as films, computer printouts and audiotapes or videotapes, shall be charged.
(4) 
If mailing or shipping is necessary, the actual cost thereof shall also be charged.
(5) 
There shall be no charge for locating a record unless the actual cost thereof exceeds $50, in which case the actual cost shall be determined by the legal custodian and billed to the requestor.
(6) 
The legal custodian shall estimate the cost of all applicable fees and may require a cash deposit adequate to assure payment, if such estimate exceeds $5.
(7) 
Elected and appointed officials of the City of Lodi shall not be required to pay for public records they may reasonably require for the proper performance of their official duties.
(8) 
The legal custodian may provide copies of a record without charge or at a reduced charge where he or she determines that waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest.
G. 
Pursuant to § 19.34, Wis. Stats., and the guidelines therein listed, each authority shall adopt, prominently display and make available for inspection and copying at its offices, for the guidance of the public, a notice containing a description of its organization and the established times and places at which, the legal custodian from whom, and the methods whereby the public may obtain information and access to records in its custody, make requests for records, or obtain copies of records, and the costs thereof. This subsection does not apply to members of the Common Council.
H. 
Format of delivery of records.
[Added 3-15-2011 by Ord. No. A-418]
(1) 
Same format as record exists; redacted records. Except as otherwise provided by law, any requester may receive or inspect a record in the very same format in which the City maintains the record. However, whenever it is necessary to redact or excise portions of a record in order to comply with the Wisconsin Public Records Law, the redactions shall be made with the assistance of the City Information Technology Department. Whenever electronic redaction or excisions cannot be done in a secure manner that preserves such redactions and prevents the viewing of the redacted information, then such redactions shall be made by hand, not electronically, and the requestor shall only receive an electronic copy of the redacted record. A requestor shall not be charged for the time required to redact or excise nonreleasable materials.
(2) 
E-mailing records. When practicable, e-mail records may be e-mailed to the requestor. In order to ensure the integrity of City records, any e-mailed document shall first be converted to a secure format prior to sending the document to anyone outside of the City government. There shall be no reproduction charge for e-mailing records; however, such records may still be subject to payment of a location fee as established in § 19.35(3)(c) Wis. Stats.

§ 88-5 Access procedures.

A. 
A request to inspect or copy a record shall be made to the legal custodian. A request shall be deemed sufficient if it reasonably describes the requested record or the information requested. However, a request for a record without a reasonable limitation as to subject matter or length of time represented by the record does not constitute a sufficient request. A request may be made orally, but a request must be in writing before an action to enforce the request is commenced under § 19.37, Wis. Stats. Except as provided below, no request may be refused because the person making the request is unwilling to be identified or to state the purpose of the request. No request may be refused because the request is received by mail, unless prepayment of a fee is required under § 88-4F(6). A requestor may be required to show acceptable identification whenever the requested record is kept at a private residence or whenever security reasons or federal law or regulations so require.
(1) 
Procedural information.
[Added 3-15-2011 by Ord. No. A-418]
(a) 
Form of request. The Wisconsin Public Records Law dictates certain actions must be taken with regards to oral requests for records and that certain more formal actions are taken in response to written requests for records. Current Wisconsin statutes do not expressly state how to respond to the following methods of communication. Requests made by the following means shall be responded to as follows:
[1] 
E-mail request. A request made by e-mail may be responded to via e-mail or in writing and shall have all of the formalities as though the request was made in writing.
[2] 
Instant messaging/text messaging request. A request made by instant messaging or text messaging, in either such manner, shall be treated as an oral request.
[3] 
Voice-mail request. A request made by voice-mail shall be responded to as though it were made orally.
(b) 
Treatment of certain data as records. The Wisconsin Public Records Law provides little or no guidance as to whether the raw and perishable data of the following technologies qualify as records that must be maintained. Therefore, the Common Council determines the following status of these technologies:
[1] 
E-mail. The data in an e-mail message may constitute a public record and is subject to maintenance as a public record. The data in an e-mail is subject to the same analysis under the public records statutes as an equivalent paper or hard copy record.
[2] 
Voice-mail. A voice mail message is not a public record.
[3] 
Instant messaging/text messaging. Instant messages and text messages are not public records.
(c) 
Audio/video recordings. Unless otherwise provided herein, audio/video recordings are public records subject to requests and must be maintained according to established retention schedules.
[1] 
Recordings made for the purpose of preparing minutes of meetings. In accordance with § 19-21(1) Wis. Stats., any tape recording of a meeting, as defined in § 19.82(2) Wis. Stats., by any city body, as defined by § 18.82(1) to include each City board, commission and committee, may be destroyed, overwritten, or recorded over no sooner than 90 days after the minutes have been approved and published if the purpose of the recording was to take minutes of the meeting.
[2] 
Rewritable recording systems. For those systems where the recordings are routinely overwritten by newer recordings, such data does not constitute a record unless it is further downloaded, printed or separately preserved to memorialize some event or proceeding. Until such time as these recordings are downloaded, printed or separately preserved, these recordings do not have to be preserved and can be erased, overwritten or otherwise destroyed. However, if such data is downloaded, printed, or separately preserved, it shall be treated as a record and shall be retained in accordance with the retention schedules.
(d) 
Electronic document files. Where records, as the term is defined in § 19.32(2) Wis. Stats., exist in an electronic format only, such electronic records shall be maintained according to the appropriate retention schedule. Where both hard copy (i.e., paper) and electronic copies of a record exist, they shall be subject to public records requests. When the custodian has designated electronic records as the official records, only the electronic copy shall be retained and made available for inspection under the public records laws. Where the custodian has not made such a designation, only the hard copy shall be subject to inspection as a public record and the electronic copies shall be treated and disposed of as draft documents that do not need to be maintained beyond creation of the final hard copy.
(e) 
Use of technologies to avoid duty to preserve public records prohibited. No employee shall use or employ any form of communications or information technology with the intent or design to circumvent the records retention requirements of this chapter.
B. 
Each custodian, upon request for any record, shall, as soon as practicable and without delay, either fill the request or notify the requester of the authority's determination to deny the request in whole or in part and the reasons therefor. If the legal custodian determines that a written request is so general as to be unduly time consuming, the party making the request may first be required to itemize his or her request in a manner which would permit reasonable compliance.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
C. 
A request for a record may be denied as provided in § 88-6. If a request is made orally, the request may be denied orally unless a demand for a written statement of the reasons denying the request is made by the requester within five business days of the oral denial. If a written request is denied in whole or in part, the requester shall receive a written statement of the reasons for denying the request. Every written denial of a request shall inform the requester that if the request for the record was made in writing, then the determination is subject to review upon petition for a writ of mandamus under § 19.37(1), Wis. Stats., or upon application to the Attorney General or a district attorney.

§ 88-6 Limitations on right to access.

A. 
As provided by § 19.36, Wis. Stats., the following records are exempt from inspection under this section:
(1) 
Records specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal law or authorized to be exempted from disclosure by state law;
(2) 
Any record relating to investigative information obtained for law enforcement purposes if federal law or regulations require exemption from disclosure or if exemption from disclosure is a condition to receipt of aids by the state;
(3) 
Computer programs, although the material used as input for a computer program or the material produced as a product of the computer program is subject to inspection; and
(4) 
A record or any portion of a record containing information qualifying as a common law trade secret.
B. 
As provided by § 43.30, Wis. Stats., public library circulation records are exempt from inspection under this section.
C. 
In responding to a request for inspection or copying of a record which is not specifically exempt from disclosure, the legal custodian, after conferring with the City Attorney, may deny the request, in whole or in part, only if he or she determines that the harm to the public interest resulting from disclosure would outweigh the public interest in full access to the requested record. Examples of matters for which disclosure my be refused include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) 
Records obtained under official pledges of confidentiality which were necessary and given in order to obtain the information contained in them.
(2) 
Records of current deliberations after a quasi-judicial hearing.
(3) 
Records of current deliberations concerning employment, dismissal, promotion, demotion, compensation, performance, or discipline of any City officer or employee, or the investigation of charges against a City officer or employee, unless such officer or employee consents to such disclosure.
(4) 
Records concerning current strategy for crime detection or prevention.
(5) 
Records of current deliberations or negotiations on the purchase of City property, investing of City funds or other City business whenever competitive or bargaining reasons require nondisclosure.
(6) 
Financial, medical, social or personal histories or disciplinary data of specific persons which, if disclosed, would be likely to have a substantial adverse effect upon the reputation of any person referred to in such history or data.
(7) 
Communications between legal counsel for the City and any officer, agent or employee of the City, when advice is being rendered concerning strategy with respect to current litigation in which the City or any of its officers, agents or employees is or is likely to become involved, or communications which are privileged under § 905.03, Wis. Stats.
D. 
If a record contains information that may be made public and information that may not be made public, the custodian of the record shall provide the information that may be made public and delete the information that may not be made public from the record before release. If in the judgment of the custodian there is no feasible way to separate the exempt material from the nonexempt material without reasonably jeopardizing nondisclosure of the exempt material, the entire record shall be withheld from disclosure.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 88-7 Destruction of records.

A. 
City officers may destroy any nonutility financial records of which they are the legal custodians and which are considered obsolete, after completion of any required audit by an auditor licensed under Ch. 442, Wis. Stats., but not less than seven years after payment or receipt of any sum involved in the particular transaction, unless a shorter period has been fixed by the State Public Records Board pursuant to § 16.61(3)(e), Wis. Stats., and than after such shorter period.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
B. 
City officers may destroy any utility records of which they are the legal custodians and which are considered obsolete after completion of any required audit by an auditor licensed under Ch. 442, Wis. Stats., subject to State Public Service Commission regulations, but not less than seven years after the record was effective, unless a shorter period has been fixed by the State Public Records Board pursuant to § 16.61(3)(e), Wis. Stats., and then after such a shorter period, except that water stubs, receipts of current billings and customers' ledgers may be destroyed after two years.
[Amended 10-10-2006 by Ord. No. A-361]
C. 
City officers may destroy any other records of which they are the legal custodian and which are considered obsolete, but not less than seven years after the record was effective, unless another period has been set by statute, and then after such a period, or unless a shorter period has been fixed by the State Public Records Board pursuant to § 16.61(3)(e), Wis. Stats., and then after such a shorter period.
D. 
Unless notice is waived by the State Historical Society, at least 60 days' notice shall be given the State Historical Society prior to the destruction of any record as provided by § 19.21(4)(a), Wis. Stats.
E. 
Any tape recordings of a governmental meeting of the City may be destroyed, erased or reused no sooner than 90 days after the minutes of the meeting have been approved and published, if the purpose of the recording was to make minutes of the meeting.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Former § 88-8, Preservation through microfilm, which immediately followed, was repealed 3-15-2011 by Ord. No. A-418.