[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Pawling at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The people's right to know the process of governmental decisionmaking and to review 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.
The following records, pursuant to town and state law, are not accessible to the public:
Those which are specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal statute.
Those which, if disclosed, would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy under the provisions of Subdivision 2 of § 89 of the Public Officers Law.
Those which, if disclosed, would impair present or imminent contract awards or collective bargaining negotiations.
Those which are trade secrets or are maintained for the regulation of commercial enterprise which, if disclosed, would cause substantial injury to the competitive position of the subject enterprise.
Those which are compiled for law enforcement purposes and which, if disclosed, would:
Interfere with law enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings;
Deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or impartial adjudication;
Identify a confidential source or disclose confidential information relating to a criminal investigation; or
Reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques and procedures.
Those which, if disclosed, would endanger the life or safety of any person.
Those which are interagency or intra-agency materials which are not:
Those which are examination questions or answers which are requested prior to the final administration of such questions.
Those which are computer access codes.
Any conflicts among laws governing public access to records shall be construed in favor of the widest possible availability of public records.
The Town Board of the Town of Pawling is responsible for ensuring compliance with the regulations herein and designates the following persons as records access officers:
Records access officers are responsible for ensuring appropriate agency response to public requests for access to records. The designation of 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. Records access officers shall ensure that personnel:
Maintain an up-to-date subject matter list.
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 § 153-9.
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, 160 Charles Coleman Boulevard, Pawling, New York, 12564.
Requests for public access to records shall be accepted and records produced during all hours the Town Clerk's office is regularly open for business. These hours are 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
A written request is 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. 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 records access officer does not provide or deny access to the record sought within five business days of receipt of a request, he or she 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, such failure may be construed as a denial of access that may be appealed.
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.
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.
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 hear appeals.
If requested records are not provided promptly as required in § 153-6D of these regulations, such failure shall also be deemed a denial of access.
The following person or persons or body shall hear appeals from denial of access to records under the Freedom of Information Law: the Town Board of the Town of Pawling, 160 Charles Coleman Boulevard, Pawling, New York, 12564.
The time for deciding an appeal by the individual or body designated to hear appeals shall commence upon receipt of written appeal identifying:
The date of the appeal.
The date and location of the request for records.
The records to which the requester was denied access.
Whether the denial of access was in writing or due to failure to provide records promptly as required by § 153-6D.
The name and return address of the requester.
The individual or body designated to hear appeals shall inform the requester of its decision, in writing, within 10 business days of receipt of an appeal.
The person or body designated to hear appeals shall transmit to the Committee on Open Government copies of all appeals upon receipt of appeals. Such copies shall be addressed to the Committee on Open Government, Department of State, 162 Washington Avenue, Albany, New York, 12231.
The person or body designated to hear 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 F of this section.
Copies of records shall be provided according to the following fee schedule:
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.