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A public record is any record containing information relating to the conduct of government business, which is prepared, owned, used, or retained by an agency. This includes but is not limited to, electronic media, paper, email, microfilm audiotapes, videotapes, magnetic tapes, and disks (CDs/DVDs). A valid public records request is a request for a specific and identifiable public document. A request for general information is not a valid public records request. You do not have to identify the record you want with exact precision, but as much detail as you can provide will be helpful. Our staff may assist in clarifying your request.
No. Washington case law has established that an agency is not required to create a record which is otherwise non-existent.
Each record must be reviewed to determine whether it is exempt from disclosure. Most exemptions are listed in RCW 42.56.230 - 42.56.480. However, certain state and federal statutes outside the Public Records Act also provide exemptions from disclosure or prohibitions on disclosure of particular records. When a city denies a request for disclosure of a public record, the specific statutory exemption on which the denial is based must be identified, along with a brief explanation of how the exemption applies.
No. Once the City receives a public records request, the request itself becomes a public record of the City. Someone else may make a public records request for that document and we will provide it. The City will be posting the requests in the Public Records Archive.
The Agenda Center provides City Council, Boards, Commissions, and Committee agendas and minutes.
Further information on how to obtain copies of birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates can be found at the Washington State Department of Health - Center for Health Certificates.
RCW 42.56.520 provides that a response to a request for public records must be made within five (5) business days. The day the request is received does not count as one of the five (5) days. Weekends and holidays observed by the agency are also excluded in the calculation. Within the five (5) days, the City will do one of the following: - provide the records (or an installment of the records) - acknowledge receipt of the request and give an estimated timetable for delivery - ask for clarification - deny the request with a statement as to why the record is being withheld and a citation of the applicable state or federal statute.
No. According to WAC 414-12-020 and WAC 414-12-010, regulations that govern custody of public records, public records are the property of the City and should be stored in the office in which they were originally filed. This location is not generally the office of the clerk, but may be a field office of the City, or in some cases, offsite storage. This may mean that the City may need additional time to retrieve records from storage.
No. A future record is one that does not exist today but may be created in the future. If there is no "writing," there can be no "public record" and, accordingly, there can be no requirement to allow inspection or copying as a result of a current request. Obviously, if a future request is made and the record then exists, the request will need to be considered. The City's obligation is confined to existing records.
Yes. When a request is made for a large number of records, the Public Records Official may provide access for inspection and copying in installments, if he or she reasonably determines that it would be practical to provide the records in that manner. If, within 30 days, the requestor fails to inspect the entire set of records or one or more of the installments, the Public Records Official may stop searching for the remaining records and close the request. Likewise, if payment for an installment is not made, the Public Records Official may stop searching for the remaining records and close the request.
RCW 42.56.520Requesting a review of denials of public records: RCW 42.56.520 allows for review of denials of public records. Any person who objects to the initial denial or partial denial of a records request may petition in writing (including email) to the Public Records Officer for a review of that decision. The petition shall include a copy of, or reasonably identify, the written statement denying the request.
The Public Records Officer will promptly provide the petition and any other relevant information to the Public Disclosure Steering Team to conduct the review. The Public Disclosure Steering Team will immediately consider the petition and either affirm or reverse the denial within two business days following the City's receipt of the petition, or within such other time as the City and the requestor mutually agree to.