Town of Thompson, NY
Sullivan County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Thompson as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 7-7-1981 by L.L. No. 5-1981 (Ch. 62, Art. I, of the 2003 Code); amended in its entirety at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
A. 
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 shrouding it with the cloak of secrecy or confidentiality.
B. 
These regulations provide information concerning the procedures by which records may be obtained.
C. 
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.
A. 
The Town Board of the Town of Thompson is responsible for ensuring compliance with the regulations herein, and designates the following person(s) as records access officer(s): Town Clerk.
B. 
The records access officer is responsible for ensuring appropriate agency response to public requests for access to records. The designation of a records access officer 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. The records access officer shall ensure that agency personnel:
(1) 
Maintain an up-to-date subject matter list.
(2) 
Assist persons seeking records to identify the records sought, if necessary, and, when appropriate, indicate the manner in which the records are filed, retrieved or generated to assist persons in reasonably describing records.
(3) 
Contact persons seeking records when a request is voluminous or when locating the records involves substantial effort, so that personnel may ascertain the nature of records of primary interest and attempt to reasonably reduce the volume of records requested.
(4) 
Upon locating the records, take one of the following actions:
(a) 
Make records available for inspection; or
(b) 
Deny access to the records in whole or in part and explain, in writing, the reasons therefor.
(5) 
Upon request for copies of records:
(a) 
Make a copy available upon payment or offer to pay established fees, if any, in accordance with § 74-8 ; or
(b) 
Permit the requester to copy those records.
(6) 
Upon request, certify that a record is a true copy; and
(7) 
Upon failure to locate records, certify that:
(a) 
The Town of Thompson is not the custodian for such records; or
(b) 
The records of which the Town of Thompson is a custodian cannot be found after diligent search.
Records shall be available for public inspection and copying at:
Thompson Town Hall
4052 Rt. 42
Monticello, NY 12701
Requests for public access to records shall be accepted and records produced during all hours regularly open for business. These hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
A. 
A written request may be required, but oral requests may be accepted when records are readily available.
B. 
If records are maintained on the internet, the requester shall be informed that the records are accessible via the internet and in printed form, either on paper or other information storage medium.
C. 
A response shall be given within five business days of receipt of a request by:
(1) 
Informing a person requesting records that the request or portion of the request does not reasonably describe the records sought, including direction, to the extent possible, that would enable that person to request records reasonably described;
(2) 
Granting or denying access to records in whole or in part;
(3) 
Acknowledging the receipt of a request, in writing, including an approximate date when the request will be granted or denied in whole or in part, which shall be reasonable under the circumstances of the request and shall not be more than 20 business days after the date of the acknowledgment, or if it is known that circumstances prevent disclosure within 20 business days from the date of such acknowledgment, providing a statement, in writing, indicating the reason for inability to grant the request within that time and a date certain, within a reasonable period under the circumstances of the request, when the request will be granted in whole or in part; or
(4) 
If the receipt of request was acknowledged, in writing, and included an approximate date when the request would be granted in whole or in part within 20 business days of such acknowledgment, but circumstances prevent disclosure within that time, providing a statement, in writing, within 20 business days of such acknowledgment specifying the reason for the inability to do so and a date certain, within a reasonable period under the circumstances of the request, when the request will be granted in whole or in part.
D. 
In determining a reasonable time for granting or denying a request under the circumstances of a request, personnel shall consider the volume of a request, the ease or difficulty in locating, retrieving or generating records, the complexity of the request, the need to review records to determine the extent to which they must be disclosed, the number of requests received by the agency, and similar factors that bear on the ability to grant access to records promptly and within a reasonable time.
E. 
A failure to comply with the time limitations described herein shall constitute a denial of a request that may be appealed. Such failure shall include situations in which an officer or employee:
(1) 
Fails to grant access to the records sought, deny access, in writing, or acknowledge the receipt of a request within five business days of the receipt of a request;
(2) 
Acknowledges the receipt of a request within five business days but fails to furnish an approximate date when the request will be granted or denied in whole or in part;
(3) 
Furnishes an acknowledgment of the receipt of a request within five business days with an approximate date for granting or denying access in whole or in part that is unreasonable under the circumstances of the request;
(4) 
Fails to respond to a request within a reasonable time after the approximate date given or within 20 business days after the date of the acknowledgment of the receipt of a request;
(5) 
Determines to grant a request in whole or in part within 20 business days of the acknowledgment of the receipt of a request, but fails to do so, unless the agency provides the reason for its inability to do so, in writing, and a date certain within which the request will be granted in whole or in part;
(6) 
Does not grant a request in whole or in part within 20 business days of the acknowledgment of the receipt of a request and fails to provide the reason, in writing, explaining the inability to do so and a date certain by which the request will be granted in whole or in part; or
(7) 
Responds to a request, stating that more than 20 business days is needed to grant or deny the request in whole or in part and provides a date certain within which that will be accomplished, but such date is unreasonable under the circumstances of the request.
A. 
The records access officer 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 annually. The most recent update shall appear on the first page of the subject matter list.
A. 
Denial of access to records shall be in writing, stating the reason therefor and advising the requester of the right to appeal to the individual or body established to determine appeals, who shall be identified by name, title, business address and business phone number.
B. 
If requested records are not provided promptly, as required in § 74-5 of these regulations, such failure shall also be deemed a denial of access.
C. 
The following person or persons or body shall determine appeals regarding denial of access to records under the Freedom of Information Law:
Town Attorney
4052 Rt. 42
Monticello, NY 12701
845-794-2500
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 determine appeals shall commence upon receipt of a written appeal identifying:
(1) 
The date and location of requests for records;
(2) 
A description, to the extent possible, of the records that were denied; and
(3) 
The name and return address of the person denied access.
F. 
A failure to determine an appeal within 10 business days of its receipt by granting access to the records sought or fully explaining the reasons for further denial, in writing, shall constitute a denial of the appeal.
G. 
The person or body designated to determine appeals shall transmit to the Committee on Open Government copies of all appeals upon receipt of appeals. Such copies shall be addressed to:
Committee on Open Government
Department of State
One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Avenue, Suite 650
Albany, NY 12231
H. 
The person or body designated to determine appeals shall inform the appellant and the Committee on Open Government of its determination, in writing, within 10 business days of receipt of an appeal. The determination shall be transmitted to the Committee on Open Government in the same manner as set forth in Subsection G of this section.
A. 
There shall be no fee charged for:
(1) 
Inspection of records;
(2) 
Search for records; or
(3) 
Any certification pursuant to this part.
B. 
Copies may be provided without charging a fee.
C. 
Fees for copies may be charged, 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 or municipalities in the past have charged less that $0.25 for such copies;
(2) 
The fee for photocopies of records in excess of nine inches by 14 inches shall not exceed the actual cost of reproduction; or
(3) 
An agency has the authority to redact portions of a paper record and does so prior to disclosure of the record by making a photocopy from which the proper redactions are made.
D. 
The fee an agency may charge for a copy of any other record is based on the actual cost of reproduction and may include only the following:
(1) 
An amount equal to the hourly salary attributed to the lowest-paid employee who has the necessary skill required to prepare a copy of the requested record, but only when more than two hours of the employee's time is necessary to do so; and
(2) 
The actual cost of the storage devices or media provided to the person making the request in complying with such request; or
(3) 
The actual cost to the agency of engaging an outside professional service to prepare a copy of a record, but only when an agency's information technology equipment is inadequate to prepare a copy, and if such service is used to prepare the copy.
E. 
When an agency has the ability to retrieve or extract a record or data maintained in a computer storage system with reasonable effort, or when doing so requires less employee time than engaging in manual retrieval or redactions from nonelectronic records, the agency shall be required to retrieve or extract such record or data electronically. In such case, the agency may charge a fee in accordance with Subsection D(1) and (2) above.
F. 
An agency shall inform a person requesting a record of the estimated cost of preparing a copy of the record if more than two hours of an agency employee's time is needed, or if it is necessary to retain an outside professional service to prepare a copy of the record.
G. 
An agency may require that the fee for copying or reproducing a record be paid in advance of the preparation of such copy.
H. 
An agency may waive a fee in whole or in part when making copies of records available.
A notice containing the title or name and business address of the records access officers and appeals person or body and the location where records can be seen or copied shall be posted in a conspicuous location wherever records are kept and/or published in a local newspaper of general circulation.
If any provision of these regulations 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 these regulations or the application thereof to other persons and circumstances.
[Adopted 11-1-1994 by L.L. No. 6-1994 (Ch. 62, Art. II, of the 2003 Code)]
There shall be a records management program established under the aegis of the Town Board headed by a records management officer (RMO). The officer will be responsible for administering the noncurrent and archival public records and storage areas for the Town in accordance with local, state and federal laws and guidelines. The RMO shall be the Town Clerk or his designee.
The officer shall have all the necessary powers to carry out the efficient administration, determination of value, use, preservation, storage and disposition of the noncurrent and archival public records kept, filed or received by the offices and departments of the Town.
A. 
The records management officer shall continually survey and examine public records to recommend their classification so as to determine the most suitable methods to be used for the maintaining, storing and servicing of archival material:
(1) 
Obsolete and unnecessary records according to New York State Records Retention and Disposition Schedules thereby subject to disposition;
(2) 
Information containing administrative, legal, fiscal, research, historical or educational value which warrants its permanent retention; or
(3) 
Records not subject to disposition according to state law.
B. 
The records management officer shall establish guidelines for proper records management in any department or agency of the Town in accordance with local, state and federal laws and guidelines.
C. 
The records management officer shall report annually to the chief executive official and the governing body on the powers and duties herein mentioned, including but not limited to the cost/benefit ratio of programs effectuated by the department.
D. 
The officer shall operate a records management center for the storage, processing and servicing of all noncurrent and archival records for all Town departments and agencies.
E. 
The officer shall establish a Town archives and perform the following functions:
(1) 
Advise and assist Town departments in reviewing and selecting material to be transferred to the Town archives for preservation.
(2) 
Continually survey and examine public records to determine the most suitable methods to be used for the creating, maintaining, storing and servicing of archival materials.
(3) 
Establish and maintain an adequate repository for the proper storage, conservation, processing and servicing of archival records.
(4) 
Promulgate rules governing public access to and use of records in the archives, subject to the approval of the Records Advisory Board.
(5) 
Develop a confidentiality policy for archival records designated confidential, provided that such policy does not conflict with any federal or state statutes.
(6) 
Provide information services to other Town offices.
(7) 
Collect archival materials which are not official Town records but which have associational value to the Town or a close relationship to the existing archival collection. Such collecting shall be subject to archive space, staff and cost limitations and to the potential endangerment of such materials if they are not collected by the archives.
(8) 
Develop a procedure whereby historically important records are to be identified at the point of generation.
There shall be a Records Advisory Board designated to work closely with and provide advice to the records management officer. The Board shall consist of the Town Board, Town Attorney and Town Comptroller. The Board shall meet periodically and have the following duties:
A. 
Provide advice to the records management officer on the development of the records management program.
B. 
Review the performance of the program on an ongoing basis and propose changes and improvements.
C. 
Review retention periods proposed by the records management office for records not covered by state archives' schedules.
D. 
Provide advice on the appraisal of records for archival value and to be the final sign-off entity as to what is or is not archival.
A. 
A Town department is the legal custodian of its records and shall retain custody of records deposited in the records center. Records transferred to or acquired by the archives shall be under the custody and control of the archives rather than the department which created or held them immediately prior to their being transferred to the archives.
B. 
Records shall be transferred to the archives upon the recommendation of the RMO, with the approval of the head of the department which has custody of the records and the approval of the Records Advisory Board.
C. 
Records may be permanently removed from the archives at the request of the RMO or the head of the department which had custody of the records immediately prior to the transfer of those records to the archives, subject to the approval of the Records Advisory Board.
The Legal Department may take steps to recover local government records which have been alienated from proper custody and may, when necessary, institute actions of replevin.
No records shall be destroyed or otherwise disposed of by a department of the Town unless approval has been obtained from the records management officer. No records shall be destroyed or otherwise disposed of by the records management officer without the express written consent of the department head having authority.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ARCHIVES
Those official records which have been determined by the officer and Advisory Board to have sufficient historical or other value to warrant their continued preservation by the local government.
RECORDS
Any documents, books, papers, photographs, sound recordings, microforms or any other materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official Town business.
RECORDS CENTER
An establishment maintained by the Town primarily for the storage, servicing, security and processing of records which must be preserved for varying periods of time and need not be retained in office equipment or space.
A. 
The removal by the Town, in accordance with approved records control schedules, of records no longer necessary for the conduct of business by such agency through removal methods which may include:
(1) 
The disposal of temporary records by destruction or donation; or
(2) 
The transfer of records to the records center/archives for temporary storage of inactive records and permanent storage of records determined to have historical or other sufficient value warranting continued preservation; and
B. 
The transfer of records from one Town agency to any other Town agency.
RECORDS MANAGEMENT
The planning, controlling, directing, organizing, training, promotion and other managerial use and records disposition, including records preservation, records disposal and records centers or other storage facilities.
SERVICING
Making information in records available to any Town agency for official use or to the public.