[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Suffern 9-9-1974 by resolution. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The People's right to know the process of government decisionmaking and the documents and statistics leading to determinations is basic to our society. Access to such information should not be thwarted by shrouding it with the cloak of secrecy or confidentiality.
This chapter provides information concerning the procedures by which records may be obtained in the Village of Suffern.
Any conflicts among laws governing public access to records shall be construed in favor of the widest possible availability of public records.
The Mayor of the Village of Suffern is responsible for any compliance with the regulations herein. He designates the Village Clerk of the Village of Suffern as records access officer.
The records access officer is responsible for:
Maintaining an up-to-date subject matter list.
Assisting the requester in identifying the requested records if necessary.
Upon locating the records, taking one of the following actions:
Make records promptly available for inspection.
Deny access to the records in whole or in part and explain, in writing, the reasons therefor.
In the event that any requests cannot be met because such records are being used for current work purposes, advise the requester of such fact and make every effort to arrange a specific time when such records will be available.
In the event that a question arises as to the nature of the records in that public viewing of such records may result in an unwarranted invasion of a citizen's personal privacy or may result in a disclosure of material that must be confidential to promote effective law enforcement or for any other reason which, in the opinion of the records access officer, is valid to promote the public interest while consistent with the Freedom of Information Law, confer with the Village Attorney before determining if such records shall be made available for inspection.
Upon receiving a request for copies of records, making the copy available upon payment or offer to pay established fees, if any, or permitting the requester to copy those records.
Upon request, certifying that a transcript is a true copy of the records copied.
Upon failure to locate records, certifying that the Village of Suffern is not legal custodian for such records or the records for which the Village of Suffern is the legal custodian cannot be found.
The Village Treasurer is designated fiscal officer by the Village of Suffern. He is the person charged with certifying the payroll. He shall respond to requests for an itemized record setting forth the name, address, title and salary of each officer and employee of the Village of Suffern.
The Village Treasurer shall make the payroll items listed above available to any person, including bona fide members of the news media, as required under § 88, Subdivision (1)(g), (1)(i) and (10) of the Freedom of Information Law.
Editor's Note: For current provisions, see § 84 et seq. of the Public Officers Law.
The Village of Suffern designates the Village Clerk's office, Municipal Building, 44 Washington Avenue, Suffern, New York, as the location where records shall be available for public inspection and copying.
The Village of Suffern shall accept requests for public access to records and shall produce records during all hours regularly opened for business. These hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where a request for records is required, such request may be oral or in writing. However, written requests shall not be required for records that have been customarily available without written request.
Response to requests.
The records access officer will respond promptly to a request for records, except under extraordinary circumstances. Such responses must be made no more than five working days after receipt of the request by the records access officer, whether the request is oral or in writing.
If, for any reason, more than five working days are required to produce records, the records access officer will acknowledge receipt of the request within five working days after the request is received. The acknowledgement will include a brief explanation for the reason for the delay and an estimate of the date production will be forthcoming.
Subject matter list.
The records access officer will maintain and make available for public inspection and copying a current list by subject matter of all records produced, filed or first kept or promulgated after September 1, 1974. The list shall be sufficiently detailed to permit the requester to identify the file category of the record sought.
The subject matter list will be updated periodically, and the date of the most recent updating will appear on the first page. The updating of the subject matter list will not be less than semiannual.
So that the records access officer can locate records within a reasonable period of time, a request for access to records should be sufficiently detailed to identify the records. Where possible, the requester should supply information regarding dates, titles, file designations or other information which may help identify the records.
A request for any or all records falling within a specific category shall conform to the standard that records be identifiable.
No records will be removed by the requester from the office where the record is located without the permission of the records access officer.
Denial of access shall be in writing, stating the reason therefor and advising the requester of his or her right to appeal to the Board of Trustees.
If the records access officer fails to provide requested records promptly, as required in § 213-6B of this chapter, such failure shall be deemed a denial of access by the records access officer.
The Board of Trustees of the Village of Suffern shall inform the requester of its decision in writing within seven days of receipt of an appeal.
Regulations of the Committee on Public Access to Records provide that the fee for copying records shall not exceed $0.25 per page for photocopies not exceeding 8 1/2 inches by 14 inches.
Editor's Note: The Committee on Public Access to Records it now referred to as the "Committee on Open Government" pursuant to L. 1983. c. 80.
The Village of Suffern shall charge $0.25 per page for photocopies not exceeding 8 1/2 inches by 14 inches. In cases where size of photocopies exceed 8 1/2 inches by 14 inches, the fee for photocopying shall not exceed the actual copying cost, which is the average unit cost for copying the record.