[Code 1964, § 2-111]
The government of the City recognizes the people's right to know the process of government decisionmaking and that the right of access to 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.
This article provides information concerning the procedures by which records may be obtained from the government of the City.
City 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.
Any conflicts among laws governing public access to records shall be construed in favor of the widest possible availability of public records.
[Code 1964, § 2-112]
The Common Council and the Mayor shall ensure compliance with this article. The Common Council and the Mayor shall designate a records access officer who shall coordinate departmental response to public requests for access to records. The designation shall be by resolution of the Common Council following an agreement by and between the Common Council and the Mayor as to the person to be designated as records access officer.
The records access officer shall ensure that City personnel shall:
Maintain an up-to-date subject matter list.
Assist the requester in identifying requested records, if necessary.
Upon request, certify that a record is a true copy.
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.
[Code 1964, § 2-113]
The City has established a copy center in City Hall and public records shall be copied at the copy center only. Inspection of records shall be, whenever practicable, where the records are actually kept within the offices and departments of the City government. The records access officer will oversee and be present at all times when records of the City are being copied at the copy center.
[Code 1964, § 2-114]
Each department of the City government shall accept requests for public access to records and produce records during all hours they are regularly open for business.
In City departments 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. The procedure shall include the name, position, address and phone number of the party to be contacted for the purpose of making an appointment.
[Code 1964, § 2-115]
The City may require that a request for records be made in writing or may make records available upon oral request, depending on the scope and nature of the request. The City shall respond to any request reasonably describing the records sought within five business days of receipt of the request. A request shall reasonably describe the 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. If the City does not provide or deny access to the records sought within five business days of receipt of a request, the City 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.
[Code 1964, § 2-116]
The City shall attempt to maintain a reasonably detailed current list by subject matter of all records in its possession, by department, whether or not records are available pursuant to Subdivision 2 of Section 87 of the Public Officers Law. The subject matter list shall be sufficiently detailed to permit identification of the category of the record sought. 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.
[Code 1964, § 2-117]
If the records access officer fails to respond to a request for public records within five business days of receipt of a request as required in Section 2-2-125, failure shall be deemed a denial of access by the City. A denial of access to public records by the records access officer shall be in writing, stating the reason for denial and advising the person denied access of the right to appeal to the Common Council committee established for that purpose.
Any person denied access to records may appeal within 30 days of a denial. All appeals regarding denial of access to records under the Freedom of Information Law [Public Officers Law § 84 et seq.] shall be heard by a committee of Council members appointed by the majority leader of the Common Council for that purpose.
The records access officer of the City shall transmit to the committee on open government copies of all appeals upon receipt of an appeal. These copies shall be addressed to:
The Common Council committee designated to hear appeals shall inform the appellant and the Committee on Open Government of its determination in writing within seven 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 (c) of this section.
[Code 1964, § 2-118]
Except when a different fee is otherwise prescribed by law, the following fees shall apply:
The fee for copies of records not covered by Subsection (a) of this section shall not exceed the actual reproduction cost which is the average unit cost for copying a record, excluding fixed costs of the City such as operator salaries.
Where and when it has been determined that a record cannot be reproduced by the photocopying method, then a transcript of the requested record shall be made upon request. The transcripts may either be typed or handwritten. In these cases, the request must be in writing and the person making the request must agree in writing to assume the cost charged for the clerical time involved in making the transcript. A deposit of 1/2 of the estimated cost of providing the transcripts shall be made to the records access officer who shall turn over the monies to the City Comptroller. The City Comptroller shall be responsible for and the depository for all monies paid by persons for reproduced records. The records access officer shall record all monies received for reproducing records, and the records access officer shall deposit the monies received with the City Comptroller at the end of each business day.
[Code 1964, § 2-119]
The City shall post in a conspicuous location in City Hall a notice setting forth the following information regarding public records: