Town of Pleasant Valley, NY
Dutchess County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Pleasant Valley 5-9-1990.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
[1]
Editor's Note: This resolution also repealed former Ch. A101, Access to Public Records, adopted 10-9-1974, as amended.

§ A101-1 Purpose; records access officer.

A. 
Purpose and scope.
(1) 
The people's right to know the process of government decisionmaking and the documents and statistics leading to determinations is basic to our society. Access to such information should not be thwarted by secrecy or confidentiality.
(2) 
This chapter provides information concerning the procedures by which records may be obtained from an agency as defined by Subdivision 3 of § 86 of the Public Officers Law. No other Town regulations shall be more restrictive than this chapter.
(3) 
Town personnel shall furnish to the public the information and records required by the Freedom of Information Law,[1] as well as records otherwise available by law.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Public Officers Law, Article 6.
(4) 
Any conflicts among laws governing public access to records shall be construed in favor of the widest possible availability of public records.
(5) 
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit or abridge any otherwise available right of access at law or equity of any party to records.
B. 
Designation of records access officer.
(1) 
The Supervisor shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the regulations herein and shall designate one or more persons as records access officer by name or by specific job title and business address, who shall have the duty of coordinating agency response to public requests for access to records. The designation of one or more records access officers shall not be construed to prohibit officials who have in the past been authorized to make records or information available to the public from continuing to do so.
(2) 
The records access officer is responsible for assuring that Town personnel:
(a) 
Maintain an up-to-date subject matter list.
(b) 
Assist the requester in identifying requested records, if necessary.
(c) 
Upon locating the records, take one of the following actions:
[1] 
Make records available for inspection; or
[2] 
Deny access to the records in whole or in part and explain, in writing, the reasons therefor.
(d) 
Upon request for copies of records:
[1] 
Make a copy available upon payment or offer to pay established fees, if any; or
[2] 
Permit the requester to copy those records.
(e) 
Upon request, certify that a record is a true copy.
(f) 
Upon failure to locate records, certify that:
[1] 
The agency is not the custodian for such records; or
[2] 
The records of which the agency is a custodian cannot be found after diligent search.
C. 
Location. Each agency shall designate the locations where records shall be available for public inspection and copying.

§ A101-2 Receipt or mailing of copies.

A. 
An agency shall respond to any request reasonably describing the record or records sought. Whenever possible, a person requesting records should supply information regarding dates, file designations or other information that may help to describe the records sought.
B. 
Copies of such records shall be received at the office as indicated above or shall be mailed from that same office.

§ A101-3 Procedure for procurement; special provisions.

A. 
Procedure. Such records or copies of said records shall be made available during the hours for conducting business, as established by the Town officer or employee in charge of the custody and keeping thereof, if the records are readily available. If not readily available, written requests specifically describing the records to which access is desired shall be filed with the Town officer or employee charged with the keeping and custody thereof, who shall produce the same within five business days of such request. If the Town officer or employee charged with the custody and keeping of the record elects to refuse access, he shall submit to the requester a written statement of his reason therefor within five business days of such request.
B. 
In agencies which do not have daily regular business hours, a written procedure shall be established by which a person may arrange an appointment to inspect and copy records. Such procedure shall include the name, position, address and phone number of the party to be contacted for the purpose of making an appointment. Such agencies shall respond to any request reasonably describing the record or records sought within five business days of receipt of the request.
C. 
Special provisions. The time required to respond does not include Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays. In the absence of the officer or employee in charge of the custody and keeping of the records, the designated assistant shall serve in that capacity. If the records are not available due to absence of both of these, the Town Supervisor shall submit to the requester a written statement of such within the time required to respond to such request.
D. 
If the agency does not provide or deny access to the record sought within the appropriate time frame defined above, the agency shall furnish, within the defined period, a written acknowledgment of receipt of the request and a statement of the approximate date when the request will be granted or denied. If access to records is neither granted nor denied within five business days after the date of acknowledgment or receipt of the request, the request may be construed as a denial of access that may be appealed.
E. 
Nothing in this chapter shall require the disclosure of the home address of an officer or employee, former officer or employee or of a retiree of a public employees' retirement system, nor shall anything in this chapter require the disclosure of the name or home address of a beneficiary of a public employees' retirement system or of an applicant for appointment to public employment; provided, however, that nothing in this subsection shall limit or abridge the right of an employee organization, certified or recognized for any collective negotiating unit of an employer pursuant to Article 14 of the Civil Service Law, to obtain the name or home address of any officer, employee or retiree of such employer, if such name or home address is otherwise available under this chapter.

§ A101-4 Fees.

Except when a different fee is otherwise prescribed by law, there shall be no fee charged for the inspection of records, search for records or any certification pursuant to this chapter.
A. 
Copies. The Town officer or employee charged with the custody and keeping of the records shall, upon request, make a copy or copies of any record subject to such inspection, upon the payment of a fee of $0.25 per photocopy not in excess of nine inches by 14 inches per page. Records of a size requiring special handling, such as maps or drawings, shall be handled at the cost of reproduction and any postage required. If a copy or copies are desired thereof by the requester, the Town officer or employee charged with the custody and keeping of the record shall make the same and mail or deliver the same to the requester within one week, depending on the volume and number of copies requested.
B. 
In agencies which do not have photocopying equipment, a transcript of the requested records shall be made upon request. Such transcripts may either be typed or handwritten. In such cases, the person requesting records may be charged for the clerical time involved in making the transcript.

§ A101-5 Denial of access to agency records.

Each agency shall, in accordance with its published rules, make available for public inspection and copying all records, except that such agency may deny access to records or portions thereof that:
A. 
Are specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal statute.
B. 
If disclosed, would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy under the provisions of § A101-6 of this chapter.
C. 
If disclosed, would impair present or imminent contract awards or collective bargaining negotiations.
D. 
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.
E. 
Are compiled for law enforcement purposes and which, if disclosed, would:
(1) 
Interfere with law enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings.
(2) 
Deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or impartial adjudication.
(3) 
Identify a confidential source or disclose confidential information relating to a criminal investigation.
(4) 
Reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques and procedures.
F. 
If disclosed would endanger the life or safety of any person.
G. 
Are interagency or intra-agency materials which are not:
(1) 
Statistical or factual tabulations or data;
(2) 
Instructions to staff that affect the public; or
(3) 
Final agency policy or determinations.
H. 
Are examination questions or answers which are requested prior to the final administration of such questions.
I. 
Are computer access codes.

§ A101-6 Protection of personal privacy.

To prevent an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, the Committee on Public Access to Records may promulgate guidelines for the deletion of identifying details from specified records which are to be made available. An unwarranted invasion of personal privacy includes, but shall not be limited to:
A. 
Disclosure of employment, medical or credit histories or personal references of applicants for employment.
B. 
Disclosure of items involving the medical or personal records of a client or patient in a medical facility.
C. 
Sale or release of lists of names and addresses if such lists would be used for commercial or fund-raising purposes.
D. 
Disclosure of information of a personal nature when disclosure would result in economic or personal hardship to the subject party and such information is not relevant to the work of the agency requesting or maintaining it.
E. 
Disclosure of information of a personal nature reported in confidence to an agency and not relevant to the ordinary work of such agency.

§ A101-7 Current list of records to be maintained.

A. 
Each department shall maintain and make available for public inspection and copying, in conformity with such regulations as may be issued by the Committee on Public Access to Records, a current list, reasonably detailed, by subject matter, of any records which shall be produced, filed or first kept or promulgated after the effective date of these rules and regulations. Such list may also provide identifying information as to any records in the possession of the department on or before the effective date of these rules and regulations.
B. 
Agency records.
(1) 
Each agency shall maintain a record of the final vote of each member in every agency proceeding in which the member votes.
(2) 
Each agency shall maintain a record setting forth the name, public office address, title and salary of every officer or employee of the agency.
(3) 
Each agency shall maintain a reasonably detailed current list, by subject matter, of all records in its possession, whether or not records are available pursuant to Subdivision 2 of § 87 of the Public Officers Law.
(4) 
The subject matter list shall be sufficiently detailed to permit identification of the category of the record sought.
(5) 
The subject matter shall be updated not less than twice per year. The most recent update shall appear on the first page of the subject matter list.
(6) 
Each agency shall maintain a reasonably detailed current list, by subject matter, of all records in the possession of the agency, whether or not available under this chapter.

§ A101-8 Voting records to be maintained.

Each board, commission or other group of the Town having more than one (1) member shall maintain and make available for public inspection a record of the final votes of each member in every agency proceeding in which he votes.

§ A101-9 Appeals.

A. 
The Town Board shall hear appeals regarding denial of access to records under the Freedom of Information Law.
B. 
Denial of access shall be in writing, stating the reason therefor and advising the person denied access of:
(1) 
His or her right to appeal to the Town Board.
(2) 
The name, title, business address and business telephone number of the Supervisor.
(3) 
The day, time and place of the next regular meeting of the Town Board.
C. 
If an agency fails to respond to a request as required in § A101-3D of this chapter, such failure shall be deemed a denial of access by the agency.
D. 
Any person denied access to records may appeal within 30 days of a denial.
E. 
The time for deciding an appeal by the Town Board shall commence upon receipt of a written appeal identifying:
(1) 
The date and location of a request for records.
(2) 
The records that were denied.
(3) 
The name and return address of the appellant.
F. 
The agency shall transmit to the Committee on Public Access to Records copies of all appeals upon receipt of an appeal. Such copies shall be addressed to:
Committee on Public Access to Records
Department of State
162 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12231
G. 
The Town Board shall inform the appellant and the Committee on Public Access to Records of its determination, in writing, within 10 business days of receipt of an appeal. The determination shall be transmitted to the Committee on Public Access to Records in the same manner as set forth in Subsection F of this section.
H. 
A final denial of access to a requested record, as provided for in Subsection G of this section, shall be subject to court review, as provided for in Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
I. 
The court in such a proceeding may assess, against such agency involved, reasonable attorney's fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred by such person in any case under the provisions of this section in which such person has substantially prevailed, provided that such attorney's fees and litigation costs may be recovered only where the court finds that:
(1) 
The record involved was, in fact, of clearly significant interest in the general public.
(2) 
The agency lacked a reasonable basis in law for withholding the record.

§ A101-10 Public notice.

Each agency shall publicize by posting in a conspicuous location and/or by publication in a local newspaper of general circulation:
A. 
The location where records shall be made available for inspection and copying.
B. 
The name, title, business address and business telephone number of the designated records access officer.
C. 
The right to appeal by any person denied access to a record and the name and business address of the person or body to whom an appeal is to be directed.

§ A101-11 (Reserved)

§ A101-12 Violations.

Any person who, with intent to prevent the public inspection of a record pursuant to this chapter, willfully conceals or destroys any such record shall be guilty of a violation.