Town of Stillwater, NY
Saratoga County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Stillwater as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
037a Public Notice
[Adopted 8-17-2006]

§ 37-1 Purpose.

The Town of Stillwater is committed to establishing and maintaining a comprehensive record management program. The Town applied for and received grant funds from the New York State Archives to enhance the existing record management program. Grant funds allowed for the inventory of records, new shelving and appropriate boxes for organizing records by series, minor renovations, the development of an Inactive Records Manual, and the disposition of records that met their legal retention. The Inactive Records Manual includes a general overview of the Town's record management program, policies/procedures for inactive record storage, and the legal destruction of records. This will allow the Town to continue to maintain the record program after the grant project ends.

§ 37-2 Findings.

A. 
Record management is the systematic creation, organization, and periodic legal disposition of records. Managing the flow of records cuts costs while increasing government efficiency. When records are created, maintained, and disposed of in a systematic fashion, they become a tremendous asset instead of a burden.
B. 
Records are essential to the administration of a local government. They contain the information that keeps government programs functioning, give government officials a basis for making decisions, administering programs, and provide continuity with past operations. They contain information of taxation and the management and expenditure of public funds. Records also document the historical development of the government, the community, and of its people. They provide evidence of the organization, functions, policies, procedures, decisions and operations, and interactions with other government units and the public. Records contain valuable information needed to conduct public business.

§ 37-3 State guidelines for records retention.

A. 
The New York State Archives provides oversight and services for record management for local governments. A Regional Advisory Officer is assigned to geographical areas to provide technical assistance and guidance. The State Archives offers free educational and training workshops tailored to specific local government record management needs. Grant funds are available through the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund for the improvement of managing and preserving official and historical records of the Town.
B. 
State law defines a record as all books, papers, microforms, computer-readable tapes, disks or other media, maps, photographs, film, video and sound recordings, or other documentary materials, regardless of form or characteristics, made or received by any state government agency in pursuance of law or in connection with the transaction of public business.
C. 
Documents in any format created for convenience of reference are not by definition records. By definition, for legal and practical reasons, library reference materials, envelopes, routing slips, and all blank forms are not records at all. Convenience copies Xeroxed by an individual for their immediate use and most drafts should not be filed in record storage. Their value is short-term and their function limited.
D. 
Most departments have records that need to be retained although they no longer access the information. All departments in the Town are required to follow the legal retention listed in the "New York State Archives Records Retention and Disposition Schedule MU-1 for Towns." The Town Clerk maintains a copy in her office and additional copies are available by contacting the State Archives.

§ 37-4 Roles and responsibilities.

A. 
The roles and responsibilities of the partnership of individuals who participate in the record management program vary. Successful files and record management requires coordination among many players. The governing body, and the chief executive official where one exists, shall promote and support a program for the orderly and efficient management of records. Each local government shall have one officer who is designated as the Records Management Officer. In towns, the Town Clerk shall be the Records Management Officer.
B. 
The Town Clerk is the Records Management Officer (RMO) and responsible for administering the Town's records management program. The RMO plays a central role in supporting files and records management-related issues in-house and to the public as well as serving as liaison to the State Archives. They assume responsibility for the development and maintenance of a record management program, approve the disposition of records, consult with department heads and encourage the continuous legal disposition of records.
C. 
All staff is accountable to one another for the transfer of reliable information. Employees who record and organize information are essential personnel as they monitor the systems used to manage information. Although it may appear that support staff assume the primary burden of active and inactive files management, administration is just as answerable for the integrity of filed records.

§ 37-5 Record center.

A. 
The Town creates a tremendous amount of records of all types and forms, which in time requires the use of office space as well as a separate storage area to maintain them. When an office or department has its own storage area, this creates a lack of control over the records and forfeits many of the advantages of a centralized system.
B. 
A record center allows for periodic legal disposition of obsolete records, targets permanent records for microfilming and or imaging, provides adequate security and protection from environmental hazards and allows for easier access and retrieval of records. It is not for supplies, reference materials or other nonrecord items that have no legal, fiscal, administrative, or historical value. The Town Clerk must approve any exceptions to the above. The record center is housed in the basement of the Town Hall.
C. 
Access to the record center is limited to the Records Management Officer or other appointed staff. The record center is for the storage of inactive records. Many inactive records, though seldom or never used, are retained for a set period because of certain legal, fiscal or administrative reasons. The record center is a cost-effective approach to managing the records and protects them from environmental damage or other disasters.

§ 37-6 Custody of records.

Legal custody of records transferred to the record center remains with the department that sent them. The RMO will have physical custody but will not rearrange a department's records or provide access to anyone not authorized by the department. Each department will designate one contact person assigned for the departmental records and serve as the departmental liaison to the RMO and her staff.

§ 37-7 Reference of records.

Records that are transferred to the record center are "inactive" but may need to be referenced from time to time by contacting the RMO. Only those persons authorized will have access to the information. A records retrieval request form (page 7[1]) must be completed and sent to the RMO. The RMO or other designated staff will retrieve the records, make them available or make the necessary copies and return them to their assigned space in the record center after use.
[1]
Editor's Note: Page number refers to the form which is on file in the office of the Town Clerk.

§ 37-8 Withdrawal of records.

Occasionally a department may find that it needs records activated to the department as it needs them more frequently than anticipated. They may therefore wish to withdraw them from record storage.

§ 37-9 Records destruction.

A. 
Most records sent for storage in the record center eventually are destroyed once they have met their legal retention or have been microfilmed. The fiscal year for the Town is January 1 to December 31. It will be up to the RMO or other designated departmental staff to identify and complete the record destruction form (see page 8[1]) for records maintained in the record center. The form is forwarded to the appropriate department head for their required signature before destruction can take place.
[1]
Editor's Note: Page number refers to the form which is on file in the office of the Town Clerk.
B. 
Office staff should complete forms when their office files have met their legal retention. The original form requires the signature of the department head who then forwards it for review by the RMO who must sign off before any destruction can take place. Keep a copy for your reference until the approved copy returns.
C. 
The original form, maintained permanently by the RMO, serves as the official documentation for a record legally destroyed in the event that record is subpoenaed or FOILed.[2] A copy of the approved form signed by the RMO is for the originating department to maintain for their reference.
[2]
Editor's Note: The Freedom of Information Law is codified at Public Officers Law § 84 et seq.

§ 37-10 Instructions for boxing records.

A. 
In order to provide better service to a department requesting information and to standardize procedures, the following applies to preparing records for transfer to the record center. A record transfer list must be completed and sent to the RMO (see page 6[1]).
(1) 
Record transfer to the record center will occur only with prior approval of the RMO. A records transfer list form (see page 6[2]) must be completed and forwarded to the RMO.
[2]
Editor's Note: Page number refers to the form which is on file in the office of the Town Clerk.
(2) 
Once approved, the RMO will send the appropriate records storage cartons for transferring the records. Standard record storage boxes should be used for department records. The standard record storage box measures 10 inches high by 12 inches wide by 15 inches long and holds one cubic foot of records. The boxes are available by contacting the RMO. Departments having oversized material, maps, blueprints, etc., should contact the RMO prior to packing this material to the record center. Large banker's boxes and copy paper boxes should not be used.
(3) 
Pack only one record series (a group of similar or related records that are normally used and filed as a unit, and can be evaluated as a unit for determining the records retention period) per box. Only records from a series or subject should be packed together in the same order they were filed in the active office files. Do not file records with different retention periods in the same box. If it is necessary to put records of more than one destruction date in the same carton, the latest date will apply as the basis for legal destruction.
(4) 
It is advisable that the current and immediate past year's records be kept in your office for reference.
(5) 
Do not fill boxes so tightly as to hamper reference. There should be three inches of free space between the files and the carton to allow ease in referencing of files in the box. Records should be stored in manila file folders, do not use hanging folders. The records should be kept in proper sequence; whether alphabetical, numerical, or chronological. Folder labels and indexes should be packed upright in the carton. Eliminate unnecessary forms or papers such as envelopes, cover letters, duplicate copies, etc.
(6) 
Label boxes by record series or the same labeling that is currently used in the record center. This allows for consistency and ease of filing and retrieving information. The legal retention of records is listed in the State Archives MU-1 Schedule. A copy is on file in the Town Clerk's office.
(7) 
Records that met their legal retention and duplicate copies will be denied unless sufficiently justified why they need to be retained.
[1]
Editor's Note: Page number refers to the form which is on file in the office of the Town Clerk.
B. 
Boxes that do not meet the above specifications will be returned to the originating department.
[Adopted 2-19-2009 by L.L. No. 3-2009[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: The provisions of this local law were readopted 2-19-2009 by L.L. No. 5-2009.

§ 37-11 Purpose; conflicts.

A. 
These rules provide the procedures by which records may be obtained.
B. 
Any conflicts among laws governing public access to records shall be construed in favor of the widest possible availability of public records.

§ 37-12 Designation of Records Access Officer and Records Appeal Officer; notice.

A. 
The Town Board of the Town of Stillwater shall designate the Town Records Access Officer and Records Appeal Officer in January of each year at the annual reorganization meeting.
B. 
A notice containing the title or name and business address of the Records Access Officer and Records Appeal Officer and the location where records can be seen or copied shall be issued in January of each year at the annual reorganization meeting of the Town Board and shall be posted in a conspicuous location wherever records are kept and/or published in a local newspaper of general circulation.

§ 37-13 Duties of Records Access Officer.

A. 
The Records Access Officer shall log each Freedom of Information Law[1] request on the prescribed Town intake form. The custodian of the requested record, whether it is the Records Access Officer or another Town employee or department head, shall then complete the prescribed action form. These two forms are necessary as control measures to insure that requests are acted upon in a timely manner in accordance with the law.
[1]
Editor's Note: The Freedom of Information Law is codified at Public Officers Law § 84 et seq.
B. 
The Records Access Officer shall insure that Town personnel who are custodians of Town records:
(1) 
Maintain an up-to-date subject matter list.
(a) 
The Records Access Officer shall maintain a reasonably detailed current list by subject matter of all records in his or her possession, whether or not records are available pursuant to § 87, Subdivision 2, of the Public Officers Law.
(b) 
The subject matter list shall be sufficiently detailed to permit identification of the category of the record sought.
(c) 
The subject matter list shall be updated annually. The most recent update shall appear on the first page of the subject matter list.
(2) 
Assist persons seeking records to identify the records sought, if necessary, and, when appropriate, indicate the manner in which the records are filed, retrieved or generated to assist persons in reasonably describing records.
(3) 
Contact persons seeking records when a request is voluminous or when locating records involves substantial effort, so that personnel may ascertain the nature of records of primary interest and attempt to reasonably reduce the volume of records requested.
(4) 
Upon locating the records, take one of the following actions:
(a) 
Make records available for inspection; or
(b) 
Deny access to the records in whole or in part and explain in writing the reasons therefor.
(5) 
Upon request for copies of records:
(a) 
Make a copy available upon payment of established fees, if any, in accordance with § 37-18 herein; or
(b) 
Permit the requester to copy those records.
(6) 
Upon request, certify that a record is a true copy.
(7) 
Upon failure to locate records, certify that:
(a) 
The Town of Stillwater is not the custodian of such records; or
(b) 
The records of which the Town of Stillwater is a custodian cannot be found after diligent search.

§ 37-14 Location of records.

Records shall be available for public inspection and copying at:
Office of the Town Clerk
Stillwater Town Hall
66 East Street
Mechanicville, NY 12118

§ 37-15 Hours for public inspection.

A. 
Requests for public access to records shall be accepted and records produced during all hours regularly open for business.
B. 
These hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

§ 37-16 Requests for public access to records.

A. 
A written request may be required, but oral requests may be accepted when records are readily available.
B. 
If the Records Access Officer determines that the record exists, the Records Access Officer shall determine whether the request may be granted or must be denied in whole or in part due to exceptions.
C. 
If records are maintained on the internet, the requester shall be informed that the records are accessible via the internet and in printed form either on paper or other information storage medium.
D. 
Upon receipt of a request, the Records Access Officer shall, within five business days of receipt of a request, acknowledge receipt of the request by:
(1) 
Informing a person requesting records that the request or portion of the request does not reasonably describe the records sought, including direction, to the extent possible, that would enable that person to request records reasonably described;
(2) 
Granting or denying access to records in whole or in part by:
(a) 
Including an approximate date when the request will be reasonable under the circumstances of the request, where the request will be granted or denied within 20 business days after the date of the acknowledgment; or
(b) 
Providing a statement in writing indicating the reason for inability to grant the request within 20 business days, and a date certain, within a reasonable period under the circumstances of the request, when the request will be granted in whole or in part; or
(3) 
If the receipt of the request was acknowledged in writing and included an approximate date when the request would be granted in whole or in part within 20 business days of such acknowledgment, but circumstances prevent disclosure within that time, providing a statement in writing within 20 business days of such acknowledgment specifying the reason for the inability to do so and a date certain, within a reasonable period under the circumstances of the request, when the request will be granted in whole or in part.
E. 
In determining a reasonable time for granting or denying a request under the circumstances of a request, personnel shall consider the volume of a request, the ease or difficulty in locating, retrieving or generating records, the complexity of the request, the need to review records to determine the extent to which they must be disclosed, the number of requests received by the Town, and similar factors that bear on the ability to grant access to records promptly and within a reasonable time.
F. 
If the Records Access Officer does not comply with the time limitations described herein, such inaction shall constitute a denial of a request that may be appealed. Noncompliance shall include situations in which an officer or employee:
(1) 
Does not grant access to the records sought, deny access in writing or acknowledge the receipt of a request within five business days of the receipt of the request;
(2) 
Acknowledges the receipt of a request within five business days but does not furnish an approximate date when the request will be granted or denied in whole or in part;
(3) 
Furnishes an acknowledgment of the receipt of a request within five business days with an approximate date for granting or denying access in whole or in part that is unreasonable under the circumstances of the request;
(4) 
Does not respond to a request within a reasonable time after the approximate date given or within 20 business days after the date of the acknowledgment of the receipt of the request;
(5) 
Determines to grant a request in whole or in part within 20 business days of the acknowledgment of the receipt of a request, but does not do so, unless the Town provides the reason for its inability to do so in writing and a date certain within which the request will be granted in whole or in part;
(6) 
Does not grant a request in whole or in part within 20 business days of the acknowledgment of the receipt of a request and does not provide the reason in writing explaining the inability to do so and a date certain by which the request will be granted in whole or in part; or
(7) 
Responds to a request, stating that more than 20 business days is needed to grant or deny the request in whole or in part and provides a date certain within which that will be accomplished, but such date is unreasonable under the circumstances of the request.
G. 
In accordance with the Freedom of Information Law, the Town may deny access to records or portions thereof that:
(1) 
Are specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal statute;
(2) 
If disclosed would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, including but not limited to:
(a) 
Disclosure of employment, medical or credit histories or personal references of applicants for employment;
(b) 
Disclosure of items involving the medical or personal records of a client or patient in a medical facility;
(c) 
Sale or release of lists of names and address if such lists would be used for commercial or fund-raising purposes;
(d) 
Disclosure of information of a personal nature when disclosure would result in economic or personal hardship to the subject party and such information is not relevant to the work of the agency requesting or maintaining it;
(e) 
Disclosure of information of a personal nature reported in confidence to the Town and not relevant to the ordinary work of the Town; or
(f) 
Information of a personal nature contained in a workers' compensation record;
(3) 
If disclosed would impair present or imminent contract awards or collective bargaining negotiations;
(4) 
Are trade secrets or are submitted to the Town 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;
(5) 
Are compiled for law enforcement purposes and which, if disclosed, would:
(a) 
Interfere with law enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings;
(b) 
Deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or impartial adjudication;
(c) 
Identify a confidential source or disclose confidential information relating to a criminal investigation; or
(d) 
Reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques and procedures;
(6) 
If disclosed, could endanger the life or safety of any person;
(7) 
Are interagency or intra-agency materials which are not:
(a) 
Statistical or factual tabulations or data;
(b) 
Instructions to staff that affect the public;
(c) 
Final Town policy or determinations;
(d) 
External audits, including but not limited to audits performed by the Comptroller and the federal government;
(8) 
Are examination questions or answers which are requested prior to the final administration of such questions;
(9) 
If disclosed, would jeopardize the Town's capacity to guarantee the security of its information technology assets, such assets encompassing both electronic information systems and infrastructures; or
(10) 
Are photographs, microphotographs, videotapes or other recorded images prepared under authority of the Vehicle and Traffic Law.

§ 37-17 Denial of access to records; appeals.

A. 
Denial of access to records shall be in writing, stating the reason therefor and advising the requester of the right to appeal to the individual or body established to determine appeals, who shall be identified by name, title, business address and business phone number.
B. 
If requested records are not provided as required in § 37-16 of this article, such failure shall also be deemed a denial of access.
C. 
The following person shall determine appeals regarding denial of access to records under the Freedom of Information Law:[1]
Stillwater Town Supervisor
Stillwater Town Hall
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 700
Stillwater, NY 12170
Physical Address:
66 East Street
Mechanicville, NY 12118
Business Phone Number: 518-664-6148
[1]
Editor's Note: See Public Officers Law § 84 et seq.
D. 
Any person denied access to records may appeal within 30 days of a denial.
E. 
The time for deciding an appeal by the individual or body designated to determine appeals shall commence upon receipt of a written appeal identifying:
(1) 
The date and location of requests for records;
(2) 
A description, to the extent possible, of the records that were denied; and
(3) 
The name and return address of the person denied access.
F. 
A failure to determine an appeal within 10 business days of its receipt by granting access to the records sought or fully explaining the reasons for further denial in writing shall constitute a denial of the appeal.
G. 
The person or body designated to determine appeals shall transmit to the Committee on Open Government copies of all appeals upon receipt of appeals. Such copies shall be addressed to:
Committee on Open Government
Department of State
41 State Street
Albany, NY 12231
H. 
The person or body designated to determine appeals shall inform the requester and the Committee on Open Government of its determination in writing within 10 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 G of this section.

§ 37-18 Fees.

A. 
There shall be no fee charged for:
(1) 
Inspection of records;
(2) 
Search for records; or
(3) 
Any certification pursuant to this article.
B. 
Fees for copies may be charged, provided that:
(1) 
The fee for copying records shall not exceed $0.25 per page for photocopies not exceeding nine inches by 14 inches. This subsection shall not be construed to mandate the raising of fees where agencies or municipalities in the past have charged less than $0.25 per page for such copies.
(2) 
The fee for copies of records not covered by Subsection B(1) of this section shall not exceed the actual reproduction cost, which is the average unit cost for copying a record, excluding fixed costs of the Town such as operator salaries.
(3) 
The Town of Stillwater shall charge $0.25 per page as the cost for reproduction of records that do not exceed nine inches by 14 inches.

§ 37-19 Amendments.

The foregoing rules may be amended from time to time by a majority vote of the Town Board and in accordance with the Freedom of Information Law.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Public Officers Law § 84 et seq.