[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Yonkers 12-10-1974 by G.O. No. 27-1974. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Yonkers Freedom of Information Code" and is adopted pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law, Public Officers Law § 84 et seq.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- AGENCY or DEPARTMENT
- An agency of the City of Yonkers as defined in § 86 of the New York State Freedom of Information Law.
- PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
- The officer, or the designee of such officer, who has custody and control of the records or information sought.
- A record as defined in the New York State Freedom of Information Law.
The Mayor shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with this chapter and shall designate one or more persons as public access officers who shall have the duty of coordinating agency response to public requests for access to records.
The public shall not be denied access to records through department officials who have in the past been authorized to make records of information available.
The public information officer is responsible for assuring that agency personnel:
Maintain an up-to-date subject matter list.
Assist the inquirer in identifying requested records, if necessary.
Upon request for copies of records, make a copy available upon payment of, or an offer to pay, established fees.
Upon request, certify that a transcript is a true copy of records copied.
The Mayor shall designate a fiscal officer by name or specific job title and business address. The fiscal officer shall be the person charged with certifying the payroll and shall respond to requests relating to the name, title and salary of every officer or employee of the agency.
The fiscal officer shall make the payroll records available to any person, including bona fide members of the news media, as required under the New York State Freedom of Information Law.
The Mayor shall designate the locations where records shall be available for public inspection and copying.
Requests for public access to records and record reproduction shall be made between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. during regular business days.
[Amended 4-26-2005 by G.O. No. 5-2005]
Each department or agency shall maintain and make available for public inspection and copying a current list, by subject matter, of all records produced, filed or first kept or promulgated after September 1, 1974. The list shall be sufficiently detailed to permit the inquirer to identify the file category of the record sought, shall prominently display the date the list was last updated and the name of the officer or employee who updated it and shall identify by name, title and business telephone number the public information officer for that department or agency who is currently responsible for responding to requests for access to records.
The public information officer shall update the subject matter list required to be kept in Subsection A of this section at least annually, or more often if circumstances reasonably warrant, such as but not limited to subsequent to the adoption of minutes of a meeting of a board or commission.
The public information officer, within five business days of the receipt of a written request for a record reasonably described, shall make such record available to the person requesting it, deny such request in writing or furnish a written acknowledgement of the receipt of such request and a statement of the approximate date, which shall be reasonable under the circumstances of the request, when such request will be granted or denied, including, where appropriate, a statement that access to the record will be determined in accordance with § 6-3 of this chapter.
If the public information officer determines to grant a request in whole or in part, and if circumstances prevent disclosure to the person requesting the record or records within 20 business days from the date of the acknowledgement of the receipt of the request, the public information officer shall state, in writing, both the reason for the inability to grant the request within 20 business days and a date certain with a reasonable period, depending on the circumstances, when the request will be granted in whole or in part.
Upon payment of, or offer to pay, the fee prescribed therefor, the public information officer shall provide a copy of such record and certify to the correctness of such copy if so requested or, as the case may be, shall certify that the City does not have possession of such record or that such record cannot be found after a diligent search.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require any City officer or employee to prepare any record not possessed or maintained by the City except:
The public information officer for each City board or commission shall maintain:
A record of the final vote of each member of said City board or commission in every special or regular meeting in which the member votes;
A record setting forth the name, public office address, title and salary, if any, of every officer or employee of said City board or commission; and
A reasonably detailed current list, by subject matter, of all records in the possession of the City board or commission, whether or not available under this chapter.
The City Clerk shall maintain and make available for public inspection and copying:
A record of votes of each member of the City Council in every session and every committee meeting in which the member votes;
A record setting forth the name, public office address, title, and salary of every officer or employee of the Department of the Legislature; and
A current list, reasonably detailed, by subject matter of any records required to be made available for public inspection and copying pursuant to this chapter in the Department of the Legislature.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed so as to authorize the removal of original records from the office where the record is located unless a department or agency is so directed by the Corporation Counsel acting as appeals officer or a court of competent jurisdiction.
[Amended 4-26-2005 by G.O. No. 5-2005]
Except as provided for in the State Freedom of Information Law, any person denied access to a record may, within 30 days, appeal in writing such denial to the Corporation Counsel, who shall, within 10 business days of the receipt of such appeal, fully explain in writing to the person requesting the record the reasons for further denial, or provide access to the record sought. In addition, each department or agency shall immediately forward to the Committee on Open Government a copy of such appeal when received by the department or agency and the ensuing determination by the Corporation Counsel thereon. Failure by any public information officer to comply with the provision of § 6-7 of this chapter shall constitute a denial for the purposes of this section.
Except as provided for in the State Freedom of Information Law, a person denied access to a record in an appeal determination to the Corporation Counsel under the provisions of the preceding subsection may bring a proceeding for review of such denial pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
In the event that access to any record is denied pursuant to the applicable provisions of the State Freedom of Information Law, the department or agency involved shall have the burden of proving that such record falls within the exception provisions of state law. Failure by an agency or department to conform to the provisions of Subsection A of this section shall constitute a denial for the purposes of this section.
There shall be no fees charged for the following:
Inspection of records.
Search for records.
Any certification pursuant to this chapter.
A department may charge a fee for copies of records, provided that:
The fee for copying records shall be $0.25 per page for photocopies not exceeding 8 1/2 x 14 inches. This section shall not be construed to mandate the raising of fees where departments charge less than $0.25 for such copies.
The City Clerk shall publicize, by posting in a conspicuous location wherever records are kept and by publication in official City newspapers:
The location where public records shall be made available for inspection and copying.
The name, title, business address and business telephone number of the designated records access officer and fiscal officer.
The right to appeal by any inquirer denied access to a record for whatever reason and the name and business address of the Corporation Counsel to whom an appeal is to be directed.