[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Greenfield 7-11-1996 by L.L. No. 2-1996. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This local law superseded former Ch. 78, Records, Public Access to, adopted 3-9-1978.
The purpose of this article is to set forth the methods and procedures governing the availability, location and nature of those records of the Town of Greenfield, subject to the provisions of Article 6 of the Public Officers Law, known as the "Freedom of Information Law."
The Records Access Officer is responsible for ensuring appropriate agency response to public request for access to records pursuant to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Law. The designation of the Records Access Officer 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 shall be available for public inspection and copying at the office of the Town Clerk, Town Hall, 7 Wilton Road, Greenfield Center, N.Y. 12833.
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.
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 records sought within five business days of receipt of a request, he or she shall furnish a written acknowledgment of the receipt of the request and a statement of the approximate date when the request will be granted or denied.
If the request is granted, the Records Access Officer shall provide a copy of such record to the person requesting the same upon payment of the fee prescribed therefor and shall certify to the correctness of such copy if requested to do so. Alternatively, the Records Access Officer shall certify that he or she does not have possession of such record or that such record cannot be located after a diligent search.
The Records Access Officer shall, in accordance with this article, make available for public inspection and copying all records, except that the Records Access Officer may deny access to records or portions thereof which are not subject to disclosure in accordance with the provisions of Subdivision 2 of Article 87 of the Public Officers Law or any other applicable state or federal statute or unless the Records Access Officer determines that to grant the application would adversely affect the public interest.
Denial of access to records should be in writing.
Within 30 days alter the written denial of access, any person denied access to a record may appeal, in writing, such denial to the Town Board of the Town of Greenfield, who shall hear such appeal under the Freedom of Information Law.
Within 10 business days of the receipt of such appeal, the Town Board of the Town of Greenfield shall explain, in writing, to the person requesting the record the reasons for further denial or provide access to the record sought. Copies of all appeals and the determinations thereon must be sent by the Town Board of the Town of Greenfield to the Committee on Open Government as required by the Freedom of Information Law.
Copies of records shall be provided according to the following fee schedule:
The fee for photocopies not exceeding nine inches by 14 inches is $0.25 per page or the maximum fee permitted under the Freedom of Information Law as it may from time to time be amended.
The fee for copies of records other than for photocopies which are nine inches by 14 inches or less shall be the actual copying cost, excluding fixed agency costs such as salaries.
Records are essential to the administration of local government. They contain the information that keeps government programs functioning. It is the intent of this article that a Records Management Program be established which will assist officials in making decisions, administering programs and providing administrative continuity with past operations. The program is intended to document the delivery of services, show the legal responsibilities of government and protect the legal rights of citizens. It will contain information on taxation and on the management and expenditure of funds. These records will also document the historical development of government itself, the community and the people of the Town.
There shall be a Records Management Program established under the aegis of the Town Board and headed by a Records Management Officer. The Town Clerk is designated as the Records Management Officer and will be responsible for administering the current and archival public records in storage areas for the Town in accordance with local, state and federal laws and guidelines.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Those official records which have been determined by the Records Management Officer and Advisory Committee to have sufficient historical or other value to warrant the continued preservation by the Town.
- Official files, minutes and documents, books, papers, photographs, sound recordings, microforms or any other materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or in conjunction with the transaction of official Town business.
- RECORDS CENTER
- A central storage area maintained by the Records Management Officer for the storage, servicing, security and processing of records which must be preserved for varying periods of time.
- RECORDS DISPOSITION
- The removal by the Town of Greenfield, in accordance with approved records control schedules, of the records no longer necessary for the conduct of business by such agency through removal methods, which may include the disposition of temporary records by destruction or donation, or the transfer of records to a central storage facility for records with scheduled retention periods or permanent storage of records determined to have historical or other sufficient value warranting continued preservation, or the transfer of records from one Town agency to another Town agency.
- RECORDS MANAGEMENT
- The planning, controlling, directing, organizing, training, promotion and other managerial activities involved in records creation, records maintenance and use and records disposition, including records preservation, records disposal and the records center or other storage facilities.
- Making information in records available to any agency for official use or to the public.
The Records Management Officer shall have all the necessary powers to carry out the efficient administration, determination of value, use preservation, storage and disposition of the public records kept, filed or received by the officers and departments of the Town of Greenfield.
The Records Management Officer shall continually survey and examine public records to recommend their classification so as to determine the most suitable method to be used for maintaining, storing and servicing them under the following guidelines:
Records deemed obsolete and unnecessary according to the New York State Retention and Disposition Schedule and subject to disposition.
Information containing administrative, legal, fiscal, research, historical or educational value which warrant their permanent retention.
Active records not subject to disposition according to state law.
The Records Management Officer shall establish guidelines for proper records management in any department of the Town of Greenfield in accordance with local, state and federal laws and guidelines.
The Records Management Officer shall report annually to the Town Board of the Town of Greenfield on the powers and duties herein mentioned, including but not limited to the development and progress of programs to date and planned activities for subsequent years.
The Records Management Officer shall operate a central records management storage facility for storage, processing and servicing all Town records for all Town at Greenfield departments and agencies.
Additional requirements of the Records Management Officer include but are not limited to:
Advise and assist Town of Greenfield departments in reviewing and selecting material to be transferred to the Town of Greenfield archives for preservation.
The encouragement and coordination of the continuous legal destruction of obsolete records through the adoption and use of the State Archives Record Retention and Disposition Schedules.
Continually survey and examine public records to determine the most suitable methods to be used for the creating, maintaining, storing and servicing of archival records.
Establish and maintain an adequate repository for the proper storage, conservation, processing and servicing of archival records.
Maintain archival materials which are not official Town records but which have historical value to the community or close relationship to the existing archival collection. This shall be subject to archive space, staff and cost limitations and to the potential endangerment of such materials if they are not collected by the archives.
The coordinating and carrying out or participating in the planning for development of advanced records management systems and equipment.
There shall be a Records Advisory Board designated to work closely with and provide advice to the Records Management Officer. The Board shall consist of five members, suggested but not limited to the following areas: Town Historian, Department Head, Councilperson, Member of the community and Town employee. Appointments are to be made by the Town Board. The Board shall meet periodically and have the following duties:
Provide advice to the Records Management Officer on the development of the Records Management Program.
Review the performance of the program on an ongoing basis and propose changes and improvements.
Review any changes in retention periods proposed by the Records Management Officer for records not covered by the State Archives schedules.
Provide advice on the appraisal of records for archival value and to be the final sign-off entity as to what is or is not archival.
Active records. The originating department has full custody (legal and physical) over records still in active use.
Inactive records. The originating department is the legal custodian of its records and shall retain the power to retrieve the use records deposited in inactive storage in the records center. The RMO will have physical custody of inactive records and will determine the method and design of storage.
Archival records. Records transferred to or acquired by the archives shall be under the full custody (legal and physical) of the archives, as directed by the RMO, rather than the department which created or held them immediately prior to being transferred to the archives.
Records shall be transferred to the archives upon the recommendation of the RMO with the approval of the head of the department which had custody of the records and the approval of the Records Advisory Board.
Records may be removed, temporarily or permanently, from the archives at the request of the RMO or the head of the department which had custody of the records immediately prior to the transfer of those records to the archives, subject to the approval of the Records Advisory Board.
No records shall be destroyed or otherwise disposed of by a department of the Town of Greenfield until it has met the time limit on the States Records Retention and Disposition Schedule and approval has been obtained from the Records Management Officer. Following required consents and prior to actual destruction, the Records Management Officer will allow the Town Historian to review and/or remove any single document or sampling of documents that are of historic value to the community.
The Town Counsel may take steps to recover local government records which have been alienated from proper custody and may, when necessary, institute actions of replevin.