Town of Rotterdam, NY
Schenectady County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Rotterdam 3-1-1978. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fees — See Ch. 126.

§ 225-1 Adoption of rules and regulations.

The Town Board of the Town of Rotterdam hereby adopts the following rules and regulations as the rules and regulations of the Town of Rotterdam with respect to the Freedom of Information Law, as amended by Chapter 933 of the Laws of 1977 of the State of New York, which rules and regulations have been promulgated by the Committee on Public Access to Records on January 10, 1978, pursuant to the new Freedom of Information Law [Public Officers Law, § 89, Subdivision 1(b)[iii] as follows:
CHAPTER XXV COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC ACCESS TO RECORDS PART 1401
PUBLIC ACCESS TO RECORDS OF STATE AND LOCAL AGENCIES, INCLUDING COUNTIES, CITIES, TOWNS, VILLAGES, SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND FIRE DISTRICTS
Statutory authority: Public Officers Law, § 89, Subdivision 1(b)iii
1401.1.
Purpose and scope.
1401.2.
Designation of records access officer.
1401.3.
Location.
1401.4.
Hours for public inspection.
1401.5.
Requests for public access to records.
1401.6.
Subject matter list.
1401.7.
Denial of access to records.
1401.8.
Fees.
1401.9.
Public notice.
1401.10.
Severability.
Section 1401.1. Purpose and scope.
(a)
The people's right to know the process of government decision-making and the documents and statistics leading to determinations is basic to our society. Access to such information should not be thwarted by shrouding it with the cloak of secrecy or confidentiality.
(b)
This Part 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 agency regulations shall be more restrictive than this Part.
(c)
Agency personnel shall furnish to the public the information and records required by the Freedom of Information Law, as well as records otherwise available by law.
(d)
Any conflicts among laws governing public access to records shall be construed in favor of the widest possible availability of public records.
(e)
Agencies shall amend existing regulations or adopt new regulations to implement the Freedom of Information Law in conformity with this Part.
1401.2. Designation of records access officer.
(a)
The governing body of a public corporation and the head of an executive agency or governing body of other agencies 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.
(b)
The records access officer is responsible for assuring that agency personnel:
(1)
Maintain an up-to-date subject matter list.
(2)
Assist the requester in identifying requested records, if necessary.
(3)
Upon locating the records, take one of the following actions:
(i)
Make records available for inspection; or
(ii)
Deny access to the records in whole or in part and explain in writing the reasons therefor.
(4)
Upon request for copies of records:
(i)
Make a copy available upon payment or offer to pay established fees, if any; or
(ii)
Permit the requester to copy those records.
(5)
Upon request, certify that a record is a true copy.
(6)
Upon failure to locate records, certify that:
(i)
The agency is not the custodian for such records; or
(ii)
The records of which the agency is a custodian cannot be found after diligent search.
1401.3. Location. Each agency shall designate the locations where records shall be available for public inspection and copying.
1401.4. Hours for public inspection.
(a)
Each agency shall accept requests for public access to records and produce records during all hours they are regularly open for business.
(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.
1401.5. Requests for public access to records.
(a)
An agency may require that a request be made in writing or may make records available upon oral request.
(b)
An agency shall respond to any request reasonably describing the record or records sought within five business days of receipt of the request.
(c)
A request shall reasonably describe 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.
(d)
If the agency does not provide or deny access to the record sought within five business days of receipt of a request, the agency shall furnish 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 10 business days after the date of acknowledgment of receipt of a request, the request may be construed as a denial of access that may be appealed.
1401.6. Subject matter list.
(a)
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.
(b)
The subject matter list shall be sufficiently detailed to permit identification of the category of the record sought.
(c)
The subject matter list shall be updated not less than twice per year. The most recent update shall appear on the first page of the subject matter list.
1401.7. Denial of access to records.
(a)
The governing body of a public corporation or the head, chief executive or governing body of other agencies shall hear appeals or shall designate a person or body to 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 his or her right to appeal to the person or body established to hear appeals, and that person or body shall be identified by name, title, business address and business telephone number. The records access officer shall not be the appeals officer.
(c)
If an agency fails to respond to a request within five business days of receipt of a request as required in Section 1401.5(d) of this Part, 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 individual or body designated to hear appeals shall commence upon receipt of written appeal identifying:
(1)
The date and location of a request for records;
(2)
The records that were denied; and
(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 person or body designated to hear appeals shall inform the appellant and the Committee on Public Access to Records of its determination in writing within seven 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 Subdivision (f) of this section.
(h)
A final denial of access to a requested record, as provided for in Subdivision (g) of this section, shall be subject to court review, as provided for in Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
1401.8. Fees. Except when a different fee is otherwise prescribed by law:
(a)
There shall be no fee charged for the following:
(1)
Inspection of records.
(2)
Search for records.
(3)
Any certification pursuant to this Part.
(b)
An agency may provide copies of records without charging a fee; or
(c)
An agency may charge a fee for copies of records, provided that:
(1)
The fee for copying records shall not exceed $0.25 per page for photocopies not exceeding nine inches by 14 inches. This section shall not be construed to mandate the raising of fees where agencies in the past have charged less than $0.25 for such copies.
(2)
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.
(3)
The fee for copies of records not covered by Subdivision (c)(1) and (2) shall not exceed the actual reproduction cost, which is the average unit cost for copying a record, excluding fixed costs of the agency such as operator salaries.
1401.9. 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.
1401.10. Severability. If any provision of this Part or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is adjudged invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such judgment shall not affect or impair the validity of the other provisions of this Part or the application thereof to other persons and circumstances.

§ 225-2 Designation of officers.

The Town Board of the Town of Rotterdam hereby designates and appoints the following persons[1] as the named officers for the respective positions herein as follows:
A. 
Records access officers:
(1) 
Supervisor.
(2) 
Town Clerk.
B. 
Fiscal officer: Comptroller.
C. 
Hearing officer: Assistant Town Attorney.
D. 
Appeals officer: Deputy Supervisor.
[1]
Editor's Note: The specific names of the designated officers shall be on file in the office of the Town Clerk.

§ 225-3 Statutory exceptions; types of records available.

A. 
The following records are excepted by statute:
(1) 
Records which are specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal statute.
(2) 
Records which, if disclosed, would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
(3) 
Records which, if disclosed, would impair contract awards or collective bargaining negotiations.
(4) 
Records which are trade secrets or maintained for the regulations of a business which, if disclosed, would cause substantial injury to competition.
(5) 
Records 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 fair trial;
(c) 
Identify a confidential source or disclose confidential information relating to a criminal investigation; or
(d) 
Reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures (except routine techniques and procedures).
(6) 
Records which, if disclosed, would endanger the life or safety of any person.
(7) 
Inter- or intraagency materials which are not:
(a) 
Statistical or factual tabulations or data;
(b) 
Instructions to staff that affect the public; or
(c) 
Final agency policy determinations.
(8) 
Examination questions or answers, prior to the final administration of such questions.
B. 
It will be recalled that under the present or existing law, only the following records are available:
(1) 
Final opinions made in the adjudication of cases.
(2) 
Statements of policy and interpretation adopted by an agency and any documents constituting statistical or factual tabulations leading to the formulation of the policy.
(3) 
Minutes of meetings and public hearings.
(4) 
Internal or external audits and statistical or factual tabulations.
(5) 
Administrative staff manuals and instructions to staff that affect members of the public.
(6) 
Police blotters and booking records.
(7) 
Payrolls.
(8) 
Final determinations and dissenting opinions.
(9) 
Any other records required by any other provision of law to be made available.

§ 225-4 Deletion of identifying details.

The following identifying details shall be deleted as unwarranted invasion of personal privacy as follows: The law states that an "unwarranted invasion of personal privacy" includes:
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 fundraising purposes.
D. 
Disclosure of information of a personal nature when disclosure would result in economic or personal hardship to the party and such information is not relevant to the work of an 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.

§ 225-5 Provisions to guide officers.

The officers mentioned herein shall be guided in the exercise of their duties and responsibilities with respect to the Freedom of Information Law as follows:
A. 
The new law specifically exempts from its coverage the Legislature and the Judiciary, who are not covered by the old law.
B. 
The new law does require that the State Legislature make certain enumerated documents available.
C. 
A significant provision of the new law also is that it requires an agency which denies access to a particular record fully to explain, in writing, the reasons for denial. Additionally, in any judicial proceeding, the burden of proof is placed upon the agency to establish that the record sought to be obtained and denied is exempted from the statute.
D. 
The new law continues the Committee on Public Access to Records with all its functions. The Committee is empowered to promulgate guidelines concerning the deletion of identifying details for the withholding of records otherwise available in order to prevent unwarranted invasions of personal privacy. In the absence of such guidelines, any agency may delete identifying details when it makes records available.
E. 
The law specifically states that disclosure shall not be construed to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy when:
(1) 
Identifying details are deleted;
(2) 
The person to whom a record pertains consents in writing to disclosure; or
(3) 
When, upon presenting reasonable proof of identity, a person seeks access to records pertaining to him.

§ 225-6 Notice.

The Town Clerk of the Town of Rotterdam is hereby directed to cause the following public notice to be published in the official newspapers of the Town of Rotterdam and to post said public notice in a conspicuous location on the official bulletin board of the Town of Rotterdam as designated by statute as follows.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The exact wording of said public notice is on file in the office of the Town Clerk.

§ 225-7 Fees; hours.

[Added 3-12-1986 by L.L. No. 4-1986; amended 1-25-1989 by L.L. No. 1-1989]
Records are available at the office of the Town Clerk during regular business hours upon payment of a fee as set forth in Ch. 126, Fees.