[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Ithaca 12-1-1976 by Ord. No. 76-12 (Ch. 2, Art. I, of the 1975 Municipal Code); amended in its entirety 12-6-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-14. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of these regulations is to provide for the regulation of the examination of public records in compliance with and subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Law (Public Officers Law Article 6) and to ensure the efficient operation of governmental offices.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any municipal board, bureau, commission, council, department, public authority, public corporation, division, office or other governmental entity performing a governmental or propriety function for the City of Ithaca.
- FACTUAL TABULATION
- A collection of statements of objective information logically arranged and reflecting objective reality, actual existence or an actual occurrence.
- RECORD OR RECORDS
- Any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with or for the City of Ithaca in any physical form whatsoever, including but not limited to reports, statements, examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photos, letters, microfilms, computer tapes or discs, rules, regulations or codes, tape recordings of official meetings and documents.
- RECORDS ACCESS OFFICER
- The City Clerk of the City of Ithaca located at Ithaca City Hall.
- STATISTICAL TABULATION
- A collection or orderly presentation of numerical data logically arranged in columns and rows or graphically.
Requests to inspect or to obtain a copy of records in the custody of any officer or employee of the City shall be submitted in writing, in person during the City Clerk's regular business hours (i.e., 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.), or by mail, or via electronic mail (e-mail) to the records access officer. Any e-mail request for records submitted after the City Clerk's regular business hours shall be considered to have been filed on the next business day. The records access officer shall make available to the public both paper and electronic forms which can be used to submit a request for records. The electronic forms shall be available on the Internet at the City's Web site. The use of such form(s), however, is merely for purposes of convenience and is not mandatory in order to obtain access to records. Records shall be available for inspection at the office of the City Clerk or other location designated by the City Clerk on all regular business days from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
If the records sought to be inspected or reproduced are being inspected by another person, in the process of preparation, being used in official business or if the requested inspection would unreasonably interfere with or disrupt office duties or business operations, the records access officer shall so inform the person and shall specify a reasonable time when such records may be inspected or reproduced.
Inspection and copying of records shall be conducted within City offices under the supervision of the records access officer or his/her designee. The person seeking to inspect records may make either handwritten copies of records or use his/her own reproduction equipment, but in no case shall such records be removed from the premises. The records access officer shall furnish copies of any of the foregoing records at a charge of $0.25 per page not exceeding nine inches by 14 inches in size; provided, however, that the records access officer may, in his/her discretion, for good cause, waive all or any portion of such charges for a particular record or class of records.
Payroll information, as provided in § 88 of the Public Officers Law, shall be made available for inspection and copying in accordance with the provisions of such statute and the regulations of the State Comptroller. A charge of $0.25 per page not exceeding nine inches by 14 inches in size shall be made for each copy furnished by the agency; provided, however, that the records access officer may, in his/her discretion, for good cause, waive all or any portion of such charges for a particular record or class of records.
Papers larger than nine inches by 14 inches in size and materials classified as records in this section that require special duplicating methods may be copied by the records access officer or his/her designee on equipment available in City Hall at a charge in conformity with the cost of duplicating the materials, such charge to be determined at the time of request for duplication. No records may be removed by the person requesting the same from the custody of the records access officer for the purpose of duplication.
In accordance with the provisions of Subdivision 2 of § 89 of the Public Officers Law and in conformity with such guidelines as may be promulgated by the Committee on Open Government regarding the prevention of unwarranted invasions of personal privacy, the records access officer, in his/her discretion, may delete from any record identifying details, the disclosure of which would result in unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, prior to making such record available for inspection or copying. In the event that one or more deletions are so made from any document, the records access officer shall provide written notice of that fact to the person requesting the same. If the record is such that the personal matters cannot be fully deleted without substantively affecting the record or the identifying details cannot be effectively deleted, the records access officer shall deny access to such record as provided herein.
An unwarranted invasion of personal privacy includes, but shall not be limited to:
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.
Disclosure of employment, medical or credit histories or personal references of applicants for employment, except that such records may be disclosed when the applicant has provided a written release permitting such disclosure.
Disclosure of items involving the medical or personal records of a client or patient in a hospital or medical facility.
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 fundraising purposes.
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 requesting or maintaining them.
Information of a personal nature contained in a workers' compensation record, except as provided by § 110-a of the Workers' Compensation Law.
Unless otherwise prohibited by law, disclosure of records shall not be construed to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy when identifying details are deleted; or when the person to whom a record pertains consents in writing to disclosure; or when upon presenting reasonable proof of identity, a person seeks access to records pertaining to himself or herself.
The records access officer or his or her designee shall, within five business days of the receipt of a written request for a record reasonably described, make such record available to the person requesting it, deny such request in writing or furnish a written acknowledgment of the receipt of such request and a statement of the approximate date, which shall be reasonable under the circumstances, when such request will be granted or denied. If an agency determines to grant a request in whole or in part, and if circumstances prevent disclosure to the person requesting a record or records within 20 business days from the date of the acknowledgment of receipt of the request, the City 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. Upon receipt of payment of or offer to pay the fee prescribed therefor, the records access 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 he/she does not have possession of such record or that such record cannot be found after diligent search. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require any entity to prepare any record not possessed or maintained by the City except those records required to be maintained by law.
Any person denied access to a record may, within 30 days, appeal such denial, in writing, to the Mayor, 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, the records access officer shall forward to the New York State Committee on Open Government a copy of such appeal and the determination thereon. If the Mayor affirms or modifies the denial, he/she shall communicate his/her reasons, in writing, to the person making the appeal and inform such person of his/her right to appeal such affirmation or modification pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
The records access officer shall maintain and make available for inspection and copying at his/her office a current list, reasonably detailed by subject matter, of the types of records produced, filed or first kept in the office on and after the first day of January 1977. Such list shall be in conformity with such regulations as may be promulgated by the New York State Committee on Open Government.
The City shall maintain a record of the final vote of each member in every City agency proceeding in which the member votes.
The City shall maintain a record setting forth the name, public office address, title and salary of every officer or employee of the agency.
Notwithstanding the provisions of § 256-1, the City may deny public access to records or portions thereof that:
Are specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal statute; or
Are trade secrets or are submitted to the City by a commercial enterprise or derived from information obtained from a commercial enterprise and which, if disclosed, would cause substantial injury to the competitive position of the subject enterprise; or
If disclosed, would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy pursuant to the standards set forth in § 256-4B of this chapter; or
Are compiled for law enforcement purposes and if disclosed would either jeopardize a pending criminal investigation, identify a confidential source, or reveal investigative techniques or procedures which are not routine techniques or procedures; or
If disclosed could endanger the life or safety of any person; or
If disclosed would impair present or imminent contract awards or collective bargaining negotiations; or
Are inter-agency or intra-agency materials which are not statistical or factual tabulations of data; instructions to staff; final agency policy or determinations; or external audits, including but not limited to audits performed by the State Comptroller and the federal government; or
Are examination questions or answers which are requested prior to the final administration of such questions; or
If disclosed, could jeopardize the City's capacity to guarantee the security of its information technology assets, such assets encompassing both electronic information systems and infrastructures; or
Are photographs, microphotographs, videotape or other recorded images prepared under authority of § 1111-a of the Vehicle and Traffic Law.
Nothing in this chapter shall require the disclosure of the home address of an officer or employee, former officer or employee, or of a retiree of the public employees; retirement system; nor shall anything in this chapter require the disclosure of the name or home address of a beneficiary of a public employees' retirement system or of an applicant for appointment to public employment; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall limit or abridge the right of an employee organization, certified or recognized for any collective negotiating unit or an employer pursuant to Article 14 of the Civil Service Law, to obtain the name or home address of any officer, employee or retiree of such employer, if such name or home address is otherwise available under this chapter.