[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Upper Allen 12-19-2002 by Res. No. 715. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Board of Commissioners declares and accepts, and it hereby does approve, adopt and establish, the proposed Upper Allen Township Policy for implementing the amended Right-to-Know Law (the "Township's Right-to-Know Policy"), pursuant to Act-100 of 2002, as attached hereto and marked as Exhibit A; and
The officers and appropriate officials of Upper Allen Township be and they hereby are authorized and designated to take any and all further action necessary or desirable to effect the implementation of the Township's Right-to-Know Policy.
Access to public records.
The purpose of this policy is to assure compliance with the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law, 65 P.S. § 66.1 et seq., as amended, to provide access to public records of Upper Allen Township (the "Township"), to preserve the integrity of Township records, and to minimize the financial impact to the residents of the Township regarding the resources utilized in the receipt and process of public record requests and the retrieval and copying of public records.
It is the policy of the Township to require the presence of a designated employee when public records are examined and inspected and to charge reasonable fees for duplication of public records of the Township. The Board of Commissioners designates the Township Manager as responsible for assuring compliance with the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law, in accordance with the following guidelines:
The Township Manager may designate certain employee(s) to process public record requests.
The Township is responsible for minimizing, where possible, the financial impact to the Township regarding the resources utilized in the receipt and processing of public record requests and the retrieval and copying of public records.
All requests for public records of the Township under this policy shall be specific in identifying and describing each public record requested. In no case shall the Township be required to create a public record which does not exist or to compile, maintain, format or organize a public record in a manner in which the Township does not current compile, maintain, format or organize the public record. All requests for public records shall be submitted in writing and on a form provided by the Township, as attached hereto, entitled "Public Record Review/Duplication Request."
Editor's Note: Said form is available in Township offices.
The designated employee shall make a good faith effort to determine whether each record requested is a public record.
The Township Manager, or his designee, shall facilitate a reasonable response to a request for the Township public records. In no case is the Township expected to provide extraordinary staff to respond to the request but will respond in a manner consistent with the Township Manager's administrative responsibilities and consistent with the requirements of the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law.
The designated employee shall respond to the request as promptly as possible under the circumstance existing at the time of the request, but not later than five business days from the date of receipt of the written request. If the Township does not respond within five business days of receipt thereof, the request is deemed denied.
The response provided by the Township shall consist of 1) approval for access to the public record; 2) review of the request by the designated employee; or 3) denial of access to the record requested.
If access to the public record requested is approved, the public record shall be available far access during the regular business hours of the Township. The designated employee shall cooperate fully with the requester, while also taking reasonable measures to protect the Township's public records from the possibility of theft and/or modification. The presence of a designated employee is required when public records are examined and inspected.
Fees for duplication of public records shall be as set forth in the Township's General Fee Schedule as adopted from time to time by the Board of Commissioners. The Township may in its discretion waive fees.
In the event the estimated cost of fulfilling a request submitted under this policy is expected to exceed $100, the designated employee(s) shall obtain prepayment of the estimated cost in advance of fulfilling the request, to avoid unwarranted expense of Township resources.
If the request is being reviewed, the notice provided by the Township shall be in writing and shall notify the requester that the request for access is being reviewed, the reason for the review and the expected response date, which shall be within 30 days of notice of review. If the date a response is expected is not met within 30 days thereof, or if the Township does not respond within 30 days thereof, the request shall be deemed denied. Review of the request shall occur when the Township determines that one of the following applies:
The record requested contains information which is subject to access as well as information which is not subject to access that must be redacted prior to a grant of access. The redacted information is deemed a denial as to that information;
The record requires retrieval from a remote location;
A timely response cannot be accomplished due to staffing limitations;
A legal review is necessary to determine whether the record requested is a public record;
The requester has failed to comply with the Township's policy and procedure requirements regarding access to public records;
If access to the record requested is denied, the notice provided by the Township shall be in writing as indicated on the form attached hereto, entitled "Denial of Request to Review and/or Duplicate Upper Allen Township Records," and shall include the following:
A description of the records.
The specific reason for the denial, including a citation of supporting legal authority. If the denial is the result of a determination that the record requested is not a public record, the specific reason for the Township's determination that the record is not a public record shall be included.
The typed or printed name, title, business address, business telephone number and signature of the Township Manager or his designee on whose authority the denial has been issued.
The date of the response.
The procedure to appeal the denial of access under the Right-to-Know Law.
Editor's Note: Said form is on file in the Township offices.
If the request is denied or deemed denied, the requester may file exceptions with the Township's Board of Commissioners within 15 business days of the mailing date of the Township's notice of denial or within 15 days of a deemed denial. The exception must:
The Board of Commissioners shall review the exceptions and may conduct a hearing to assist in making a final determination. A final determination will be made within 30 days of the mailing date of exceptions, unless extended by agreement of the parties. If the denial is upheld, the decision shall contain a written explanation of the reason for denial and an explanation of the process for further appeal.
This policy shall be posted conspicuously at the Township.
This policy shall take effect on 20 December 2002.