Town of Blooming Grove, NY
Orange County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Blooming Grove as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 1-13-1975]
The following rules are adopted for use by the Town of Blooming Grove to regulate public access to municipal records. The intent of these rules is to develop an orderly process whereby the public may request access to the records of the town and simultaneously assure that town personnel may be reasonably expected to react to those requests on a timely basis and in conformance with law.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
MUNICIPALITY
The Town of Blooming Grove, to include the administrative offices, Police Department, Highway Department, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and Public Library.
RECORDS ACCESS OFFICER
The Records Access Officer and his authorized representative.
A. 
The Freedom of Information Law[1] requires that each municipality make and publish rules and regulations pertaining to public access to records. These rules have been adopted with the intent that they be the least restrictive possible in consonance with the needs of the public, the news media, the municipality and the legislative intent of providing public access to records.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Public Officers Law, Article 6.
B. 
The purpose and scope is as follows:
(1) 
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.
(2) 
This article provides information concerning the procedures by which records may be obtained from agencies and municipalities. No agency or municipality regulation shall be more restrictive than this article.
(3) 
Agency and municipal personnel shall furnish to the public the information and records required by the Freedom of Information Law and those which were furnished to the public prior to its enactment.
(4) 
Any conflicts among laws governing public access to records shall be construed in favor of the widest possible availability of public records.
For the purposes of these rules, the Town Supervisor is designated as the Town Fiscal Officer who has custody of all records pertaining to employee payrolls. When a bona fide member of the news media makes a request upon the form prescribed, the Fiscal Officer, with the permission of the Records Access Officer, will permit inspection of the municipality payroll records and will provide a certified copy, if requested.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
A. 
The head of an agency or municipality 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 the agency response to public requests for access to records. However, the public shall not be denied access to records through agency and municipal officials who have in the past been authorized to make records or information available.
B. 
The Town Clerk is hereby designated as the Records Access Officer for the Town of Blooming Grove and is the person from whom all records of the municipality must be obtained. In the absence of the Town Clerk, the Fiscal Officer as designated in § 46-4 above will serve as the Records Access Officer.
C. 
The Records Access Officer is responsible for assuring that agency personnel:
(1) 
Maintain an up-to-date subject matter list.
(2) 
Comply with these regulations.
The office of the Town Clerk is hereby designated as the location within the Town of Blooming Grove from which all records of the municipality will be made available. All requests for access to records should be submitted to the Records Access Officer in the town offices, P.O. Box 358, Horton Road and Route No. 94, Blooming Grove, New York, 10914.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
Records of the municipality will be made available for public inspection and copying during the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day the town offices are regularly open for business.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
A. 
The municipality will make its records available for public examination without charge when they are available in the current files of the town offices.
B. 
Copies of any record made available under the rules contained herein will be made upon payment of $0.25 per page. Copies of maps or documents which exceed the size of legal stationery will be made at the actual copying cost per page.
C. 
No fee will be charged for the following services:
(1) 
Certifying that a record of which the municipality is legal custodian cannot be found.
(2) 
Certifying to the correctness of a record.
(3) 
Public inspection of a record in current files.
(4) 
Search for records.
In order to assume that the public is informed how to request access to public records, the following information will be conspicuously posted in the town offices of the municipality and will be published at least not later than 30 days after the adoption of these rules in a newspaper with general circulation in the municipality and at such other times as the Town Board may from time to time order.
A. 
The name, title, business address and business telephone number of the designated Records Access Officer.
B. 
Where and when public records will be made available for inspection and copying.
C. 
The right of appeal by an applicant denied access to a record for whatever reason and the name and business address of the person to whom an appeal is to be directed.
D. 
The fees, to the extent authorized by these rules or other statute, for copies of such information.
E. 
The procedures to be followed.
The municipality retains the authority to specify how requests shall be processed and has established separate procedures for different types of records.
A. 
[1]In the following cases the municipality requires that written requests, using such form as is available from the Town Clerk, be submitted for access to records:
(1) 
Records in the custody of the Town Police Department.
(2) 
Birth, marriage and death records in the custody of the Registrar of Vital Statistics.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
B. 
The municipality, on request for identifiable records made in accordance with these rules, shall make the records promptly available to any persons and, upon payment of fees set forth in § 46-8, either make one or more transcripts therefrom, and certify to the correctness thereof, and to the search for such records or certify that a record cannot be found. The Records Access Officer, upon receipt of a request, oral or written, for access to records shall promptly:
(1) 
Assist the applicant in identifying the records he is seeking.
(2) 
Search for identifiable record.
(3) 
Upon locating the record, take one of the following actions:
(a) 
Review such records and delete any information which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy and thereafter make the record promptly available for inspection, or schedule an appointment for inspection and make records promptly available for inspection; or
(b) 
Deny access to the record in whole or in part and explain, in writing, the reasons therefor.
(4) 
Upon request for copies of records:
(a) 
Make a copy available upon payment or offer to pay established fees, if any; or
(b) 
Permit the requester to copy those records.
(5) 
Upon request, certify to the correctness of the records copied.
(6) 
If the record cannot be located, take one of the following actions:
(a) 
Certify, in writing, that the municipality is not the legal custodian of the record; or
(b) 
Certify, in writing, that the record of which the municipality is legal custodian cannot be found.
C. 
An agency or municipal official shall respond promptly to a request for records. Except under extraordinary circumstances, his response shall be made no more than five working days after receipt of the request by the agency or municipality, whether the request is oral or in writing.
D. 
If for any reason more than five days is required to produce records, an agency or municipal official shall acknowledge receipt of the request within five working days after the request is received. The acknowledgment should include a brief explanation of the reason for delay and an estimate of the date, production or denial will be forthcoming.
E. 
So that agency and municipal personnel can locate records within a reasonable period of time, a request for access to records should be sufficiently detailed to identify the records. Where possible, the requester should supply information regarding dates, titles, file designations or other information which may help identify the records.
F. 
A request for any or all records falling within a specific category shall conform to the standard that records be identifiable.
G. 
No records may be removed by the requester from the office where the record is located without the permission of agency or municipal personnel.
The following records of the municipality will be made available for public inspection:
A. 
Final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions, as well as orders, made in the adjudication of cases;
B. 
Those statements of policy and interpretations which have been adopted by the municipality and any documents, memoranda, data or other materials constituting statistical or factual tabulations which led to the formulation thereof;
C. 
Minutes of meetings of the governing body, if any, of the municipality and of public hearings held by the municipality;
D. 
Internal or external audits and statistical or factual tabulations made by or for the municipality;
E. 
Administrative staff manuals and instruction to staff that affect members of the public;
F. 
Police blotters and booking records;
G. 
An itemized record setting forth names, addresses, titles and salaries of every officer or employee, which shall be compiled by each Fiscal Officer charged with the duty of preparing payrolls for such officers, and such records shall be made available for inspection by the officer charged with the duty of certifying such payrolls to bona fide members of the news media upon written notice. Said written notice shall be made upon a form to be prescribed and shall be reasonable and specify what records are to be requested with particularity. The records may be inspected under the supervision of the particular Fiscal Officers' office and only in the particular Fiscal Officers' office during regular working hours and regular working days or at such other place as may be convenient to the particular Fiscal Officers;
H. 
Final determinations and dissenting opinions of members of the governing body, if any, of the municipality, including the vote of each member in every instance he votes;
I. 
Any other files, records, papers or documents required by any other provision of law to be made available for public inspection and copying.
The following records of the municipality will not be made available for public inspection:
A. 
Those records which are specifically exempted by statute.
B. 
Those records which are confidentially disclosed for the regulation of commercial enterprise, including trade secrets, or for obtaining a license to do business and, if openly disclosed, would permit an unfair advantage to competitors (but no exemption if disclosure is directed by another statute).
C. 
Records compiled for law enforcement purposes in relation to criminal or regulatory investigations or proceedings.
D. 
Intermunicipal or intramunicipal documents or memorandum used solely as advisory matter for policymaking or employee-employer negotiations.
E. 
Personal references listed by applicants on employment applications.
F. 
Records which would be an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. An unwarranted invasion of personal privacy includes, but shall not be limited to:
(1) 
Disclosure of such personal matters as may have been reported in confidence to an agency or municipality and which are not relevant or essential to the ordinary work of the agency or municipality.
(2) 
Disclosure of employment, medical or credit histories or personal references of applicants for employment, except such records may be disclosed when the applicant has provided a written release permitting such disclosure.
(3) 
Disclosure of items involving the medical or personal records of a client or patient in a hospital or medical facility.
(4) 
The sale or release of lists of names and addresses in the possession of any agency or municipality if such lists would be used for private, commercial or fund-raising purposes.
(5) 
Disclosure of items of a personal nature when disclosure would result in economic or personal hardship to the subject party and such records are not relevant or essential to the ordinary work of the agency or municipality.
G. 
Scores of employees on Civil Service examinations.
A. 
Any individual who is denied access to a public record of the municipality may appeal such denial to the Town Supervisor. When a request is first denied, the applicant will be given written notice of such denial with an explanation of the right to appeal and will be given a time and date when a personal, as well as written, appeal may be made to the Town Supervisor, who will explain the reason for denial, in writing, within seven business days.
B. 
Final authority for denial of any request for access rests with the Town Board, Town of Blooming Grove, which will automatically review all denials issued by the Town Supervisor. Such automatic review will take place at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board.
A. 
In order to aid the public in identifying records and to assist municipal personnel in finding requested records with reasonable effort, a detailed listing of municipal records, by subject matter, is attached hereto as Annex B[1] (a duplicate list is retained for public use by the Records Access Officer). Said list is to be kept current and shall include all records which shall be produced, filed or first kept or promulgated after the effective date of the Freedom of Information Law, which was September 1, 1974, and the list may include identifying information as to any records in the town's possession before September 1, 1974.
[1]
Editor's Note: Annex B is on file in the Town Clerk's office.
B. 
The subject matter list shall be updated periodically, and the date of the most recent updating shall appear on the first page. The updating of the subject matter list shall not be less than semiannual.
[Adopted 2-13-1989]
A. 
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.
B. 
In accordance with Article 57-A:
(1) 
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.
(2) 
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.