[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Clarkstown as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Public Access to Records
[Adopted 8-20-2013 by L.L. No. 6-2013]
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 224, Records, comprised of Art. I, Public Access to Records, adopted 12-18-1974, as amended.
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.
These regulations provide information concerning the procedures by which records may be obtained.
Personnel shall furnish to the public the information and records required by the Freedom of Information Law (§ 84 et seq. of the Public Officers Law).
The Town Board of the Town of Clarkstown ("Town") is responsible for ensuring compliance with the regulations herein and designates the Town Clerk and, in his or her absence, the Deputy Town Clerk as records access officers, who shall be responsible for ensuring appropriate agency response to public requests for access to records.
The records access officer shall ensure that personnel:
Maintain an up-to-date subject matter list, or in the alternative, a records retention schedule pursuant to § 224-10 herein.
Assist the requester in identifying requested records, if necessary.
Upon request for copies of records:
Make a copy available upon payment or offer to pay established fees, if any, in accordance with the fee schedule.
Upon request, certify that a record is a true copy.
Records shall be available for public inspection and copying at the office of the Town Clerk, Town of Clarkstown, New City, New York.
Requests for public access to records shall be accepted and records produced in the Town offices between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays.
A written request shall be required.
A response shall be given regarding any request reasonably describing the record or records sought within five business days of receipt of the request.
A request shall reasonably describe the record or records sought. Wherever 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 records access officer does not provide or deny access to the records sought within five business days of receipt of request, he or she shall furnish a written acknowledgement of receipt of the request and a statement of the approximate date, which shall be reasonable under the circumstances of the request, when the request will be granted or denied.
If the Town 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 Town shall state, in writing, both the reason for the inability to grant the request within 20 business days and a date certain within a reasonable period, depending on the circumstances, when the request will be granted in whole or in part.
The records access officer shall maintain a reasonably detailed current list by subject matter of all records in his or her possession, whether or not records are available, pursuant to Subdivision 2 of § 87 of the Public Officers Law, or in the alternative, a records retention schedule pursuant to § 224-10 herein.
Denial of access to records shall be in writing, stating the reason therefor and advising the requester of the right to appeal to the Town Supervisor, who has been designated by the Town Board as the Town Appeals Officer.
If requested records are not provided, as required in § 224-5 of this chapter, such failure shall also be deemed a denial of access.
The Town Appeals Officer shall hear appeals for denial of access to records under the Freedom of Information Law. Such appeals shall be made within 30 days of a denial.
The Town Appeals Officer 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:
The fee for photocopies not exceeding nine inches by 14 inches is $0.25 per page.
A notice containing the title or name and business address of the records access officer and the records appeals officer and the location where records can be seen or copied shall be posted in a conspicuous location wherever records are kept and set forth on the Town website, Town Clerk's office.
Records Retention and Disposition Schedule MU-1, issued pursuant to Article 57-A of the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law and containing legal minimum retention periods for municipal government records, is hereby adopted for use by all municipal officers in disposing of municipal government records listed therein.
In accordance with Article 57-A:
Only those records will be disposed of that are described in Records Retention and Disposition Schedule MU-1 after they have met the minimum retention period prescribed therein.
Only those records will be disposed of that do not have sufficient administrative, fiscal, legal or historical value to merit retention beyond established time periods.