[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Oneida at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Public Access to Records
Article II Retention and Disposition
The people's right to know the process of government decision-making and the documents and statistics leading to determinations can be thwarted by shrouding it with the cloak of secrecy or confidentiality.
This article provides information concerning the procedures by which records may be obtained from an agency defined by Subdivision 3 of § 86 of the Public Officers Law. No agency regulations shall be more restrictive than this article.
Any conflicts among laws governing public access to records shall be construed in favor of the widest possible availability of public records.
The Common Council of the city shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the regulations herein and designates the City Clerk as the principal records access officer who shall have the duty of coordinating the city response to public requests for access to records. The designation of the City Clerk shall not be construed to prohibit the Attorney for the city ("Attorney"), who has in the past been authorized to make records or information available to the public, from continuing to do so.
The City Clerk is responsible for assuring that city personnel:
Maintain an up-to-date subject matter list.
Assist the requester in identifying requested records, if necessary.
Upon request, certify that a record is a true copy.
The Common Council hereby designates the office of the City Clerk and the Attorney as the location where public records shall be available for public inspection and copying.
The City Clerk and Attorney shall accept requests for public access to records and produce records during all hours during which the Clerk's office or Attorney's office is regularly open for business.
The City Clerk and Attorney may require that a request be made in writing or may make records available upon oral request.
The City Clerk and Attorney shall respond to 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 City Clerk and Attorney do not provide or deny access to the records sought within five business days of receipt of a request, the City Clerk and Attorney 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, the request may be construed as a denial of access that may be appealed.
The City Clerk and Attorney shall maintain a reasonably detailed current list by subject matter of all records in his/her or their 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.
The Common Council shall hear appeals or shall designate a person or body to hear appeals regarding denial of access to records under the Freedom of Information Law.
Denial of access shall be in writing stating the reason therefor and advising the person denied access of his or her right to appeal to the person or body established to hear appeals, and that person or body shall be identified by name, title, business address and business telephone number. The Records Access Officer shall not be the Appeals Officer.
If the Common Council fails to respond to a request within five business days of receipt of a request as required in § 129-5 of this article, such failure shall be deemed a denial of access by the agency.
Any person denied access to records may appeal within 30 days of a denial.
The time for deciding an appeal by the Common Council or the person or body designated to hear appeals shall commence upon receipt of written appeal identifying:
The Common Council shall transmit to the Committee on Open Government copies of all appeals upon receipt of an appeal. Such copies shall be addressed to:
The Common Council or the person or body designated to hear appeals shall inform the appellant and the Committee on Open Government of its determination, in writing, within seven 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.
Except when a different fee is otherwise prescribed by law:
The City Clerk or Attorney may provide copies of records without charging a fee.
The City Clerk or Attorney may charge a fee for copies of records, provided that:
The fee for copying records shall not exceed $0.25 per page for photocopies not exceeding nine inches by 14 inches.
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.
In accordance with Article 57-A:
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.
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.