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374-20-070  <<  374-20-075 >>   374-20-076

PDFWAC 374-20-075

Responses to public records requests.

(1) The agency is prohibited by statute from disclosing lists of individuals for commercial purposes.
(2) Upon receipt of a request, the agency will assign a tracking number and record the request into the agency's public records request log.
(3) The public records officer or designee will evaluate the request according to the nature of the request, volume, and availability of requested records. The agency will process requests in the order that allows the largest number of requests to be processed in the most efficient manner.
(4) Following the initial evaluation of the request under subsection (3) of this section, and within five business days of receipt of the request, the public records officer or designee will do one or more of the following:
(a) Make the records available for inspection or copying including:
(i) If copies are available on the agency's website, providing the internet site or link to the specific records requested;
(ii) If copies are requested and the required fee is paid, send the copies to the requestor;
(b) Acknowledge receipt of the request and provide a reasonable estimate of when records or an installment of records will be available. The public records officer or designee may revise the estimate of when records will be available; or
(c) Acknowledge receipt of the request and ask the requestor to provide clarification for anything unclear, and provide to the greatest extent possible, a reasonable estimate of the time the agency will require to respond to the request if it is not clarified.
(i) Such clarification may be requested and provided by telephone, and recorded in writing;
(ii) If the requestor fails to respond to the agency's request for clarification and the entire request is unclear, the agency need not respond to it.
(d) The agency will respond to those portions of the request that are clear or deny the public record request.
(5) If the agency does not respond in writing within five business days of receipt of the request, then the requestor should contact the public records officer to determine the reason for the failure to respond.
(6) If the requested records contain information that may affect rights of others and are exempt from disclosure, then the public records officer may, prior to providing the records, give notice to the person with affected rights. This notice will include sufficient information so that the affected person(s) may contact the requestor and ask him or her to revise the request, or, if necessary, seek a court order to prevent or limit the disclosure. The notice to the affected person(s) will include a copy of the request.
(7) Some records are exempt from disclosure, in whole or in part. If the agency believes that a record is exempt from disclosure and should be withheld, the public records officer will state the specific exemption and provide a brief written explanation of why the record or a portion of the record is being withheld. If only a portion of a record is exempt from disclosure, but the remainder is not, the public records officer will redact the exempt portions, provide the nonexempt portions, and provide an explanation for the redaction.
(8) The agency shall provide a viewing area to inspect public records, provided that doing so does not unduly burden the operation of the agency. No member of the public may remove a document from the viewing area or disassemble or alter any document. The requestor will indicate which documents he or she wishes the agency to copy. The requestor must claim or review the assembled records within ten business days of the agency's issuance of the notice of availability. If the requestor or a representative of the requestor fails to claim or review the records within the ten business day period, the agency will close the request and refile the assembled records. Other public records requests can be processed ahead of a subsequent request by the same person for the same or almost identical records, which will be processed as a new request.
(a) After inspection is complete, the public records officer or designee shall make copies or arrange for copying. In accordance with the charge for copies set out in WAC 374-20-070, the requestor must pay the appropriate fee before the agency will release the copies.
(b) When the inspection of the requested records is complete and any requested copies are provided, the public records officer or designee will indicate in writing that the agency has conducted a reasonable search for the requested records, made the nonexempt records available for inspection, and closed the request.
(9) While not required, and with the consent of the requestor, the agency may decide to provide customized electronic access services and assess charges under RCW 42.56.120 (2)(f). A customized service charge applies only if the agency estimates that the request would require the use of information technology expertise to prepare data compilations, or provide customized electronic access services when such compilations and customized access services are not used by the agency for other purposes. The agency may charge a fee consistent with RCW 42.56.120 (2)(f) for such customized access.
(10) When electronic records are requested, the agency will provide the nonexempt records or portions of such records that are reasonably locatable in an electronic format that is used by the agency and is generally commercially available, or at the agency's discretion, in a format that is reasonably translatable from the format in which the agency keeps the records. The agency is under no obligation to convert electronic records to a specific format identified by the requestor. When metadata is requested, the agency will provide the records in a native file format that preserves metadata where technically feasible. Metadata may be unavailable for records that require conversion to a nonnative format in order to apply exemptions.
(11) When it appears that the number of records responsive to a request may be large, that the process of locating, assembling, or reviewing the records may be lengthy, or that it is otherwise appropriate, the agency may provide records on an installment basis. The agency may wait to locate and assemble additional records in an installment until the requestor has claimed or inspected the previous installment. If an installment is not claimed or inspected within ten business days of the notice of availability, the agency may close the request.
(12) When the requestor: Withdraws the request, fails to clarify an entirely unclear request, fails to fulfill his or her obligations to inspect the records, or pay the deposit, the required fees for an installment, or make final payment for the requested copies, the public records officer will close the request. The agency will indicate to the requestor that the agency has closed the request unless the requestor received previous correspondence stating that the request would be closed under the above circumstances.
(13) If, after the agency has informed the requestor that it has provided all available records, the agency becomes aware of additional responsive documents existing at the time of the request, it will promptly inform the requestor of the additional documents and provide these on an expedited basis.
[Statutory Authority: Chapter 42.56 RCW. WSR 20-02-005, ยง 374-20-075, filed 12/18/19, effective 1/18/20.]
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