Kent County, DE Policy Manual
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 29-1 Public event/program coordination.

[Adopted 1-15-2008 by P08-02]
This Policy establishes procedures for the coordination of promotional or educational events and programs by County offices to ensure successful, well-planned opportunities for citizen interaction and public awareness.]
A. 
Whenever a County-sponsored event such as an open house, ribbon cutting, festival, or similar program is under consideration, approval must be requested in advance from the County Administrator. If approval is granted, the Public Information Officer shall have overall responsibility for coordinating publicity, media relations, and Levy Court Commissioner participation. The Public Information Officer shall serve as a member of all such event/program planning committees.
B. 
Whenever an outside agency or organization proposes an event or program involving County-owned facilities or County personnel, such requests shall be directed to the County Administrator for authorization. In evaluating the nature of the event and the extent of anticipated public involvement, the County Administrator may forward the proposal to the leadership Levy Court for review and consultation before deciding whether or not to authorize the use of County-owned facilities and/or County personnel for such purpose. If requested by the approved sponsoring organization, the Public Information Officer will coordinate any Levy Court Commissioner participation. Participation by Department of Public Safety staff in various public events will be coordinated through the Director, after review and approval by the County Administrator.
C. 
Approved public events or programs sponsored by outside agencies or organizations at County-owned facilities shall, at a minimum, provide proof of insurance coverage and an event safety/security plan as determined by the County's Risk Manager (Personnel Director). Events or programs requiring participation by County employees may be assessed a service fee or fees to reimburse anticipated costs as determined by the County Administrator.
D. 
The Public Information Officer shall develop appropriate forms and guidelines for the efficient administration of this Policy, subject to approval by the County Administrator.
E. 
This Policy shall become effective immediately upon adoption by Levy Court.

§ 29-2 Media relations.

[Adopted 1-15-2008 by P08-01]
This Policy establishes procedures for facilitating the flow of timely and factual information between Kent County Levy Court, the news media and the general public.
A. 
Only elected County officials, appointed County Attorneys, the County Administrator, Department/Office Directors, and the Public Information Officer are authorized to speak on behalf of the County on subjects related to their particular area of responsibility. Assistant Directors must have prior authorization from their department head to speak with a media representative. Nonauthorized employees must refer all media personnel to the Public Information Officer.
B. 
Employees shall promptly inform the Public Information Officer of all media inquiries, requests, and interviews, and he/she shall have responsibility for advising the County Administrator and Levy Court Commissioners of said media contact. When possible, advance notice should be provided to the Public Information Officer about prescheduled interviews or videotaped features in order to provide County resource coordination. Direct media requests for information outside one's area of direct responsibility should be referred to the Public Information Officer for a response.
C. 
When speaking with the media, authorized persons should be prompt, helpful and honest and avoid baseless speculations or gossip. It is important to represent the County in a positive manner and avoid saying "no comment" to reporter questions. Certain issues should not be discussed with the news media, such as pending or actual litigation, personnel matters, proposed or pending land acquisition, or disaster/state of emergency situations, unless authorized to do so.
D. 
During a disaster or any emergency declaration, all media requests or contacts must be coordinated through the Public Information Officer or other such person appointed by the President of Levy Court or County Administrator. In such situations, it is essential that all information be factually verified and properly disseminated by a single individual or office.
E. 
The Public Information Officer shall develop appropriate forms and guidelines for the efficient administration of this Policy, subject to approval by the County Administrator.
F. 
This Policy shall become effective immediately upon adoption by Levy Court.

§ 29-3 Freedom of information (FOIA) requests.

[Adopted 9-16-2008 by P08-05, effective 9-16-2008]
This Policy establishes procedures for responding to requests for information filed by the news media or the public under the Delaware Freedom of Information Act.
A. 
All County records shall be open to inspection and copying by any individual or group of individuals during regular business hours, except those documents specifically excluded by the Freedom of Information Act. Excluded documents include employee records, criminal records, collective bargaining records, documents related to pending or potential litigation, documents related to pending or potential land/property acquisition, executive session minutes, library user records, building plans/blueprints for public buildings or utilities, plans for security/safety components, any records identifying storage of chemicals or substances/pharmaceuticals, and military records, and documents protected from disclosure by the attorney-client privilege, other privileges or statutes, among others. If it is unclear whether a document is a public record under state law, please consult a supervisor, department head or the County Attorney.
B. 
Whenever a County record is in use or in storage, an appointment shall be arranged with the requestor as expeditiously as possible to make the document(s) available for inspection and copying.
C. 
Requests to inspect or copy easily accessible or routine information or records such as building permits and applications, complaint documents, electronic records, procedures, regulations, property records, etc. which require a minimal amount of staff time to identify, locate, compile, and copy shall be promptly fulfilled.
D. 
For more complex information requests requiring considerable research, numerous documents, legal review and/or numerous pages, it is the County's stated goal to respond within seven working days. Such requests must be in writing, and a copy shall be provided to the Public Information Officer, who shall be responsible for coordinating a prompt response by the County department/office. The County department/office in possession of the requested information shall provide an estimate of time required to gather the information and make copies (if copies were requested) of such documents. County staff may contact the requester to ascertain what specific information is sought, when requests are broadly worded.
E. 
When numerous pages (20 or more) of documents must be copied in order to fulfill the information request, the Public Information Officer may require a deposit equal to the production cost as determined by the County's fee schedule. Upon receipt of the deposit, County staff within the department/office where the information is located shall promptly make the requested copies and submit the records to the Public Information Officer for mailing or pick up by the requester upon payment of any additional copying costs.
F. 
Upon request, County records can be duplicated onto electronic media at a flat rate as determined by the County's fee table, but no less than $5.
G. 
The Public Information Officer shall develop appropriate forms and guidelines for the efficient administration of this Policy, subject to approval by the County Administrator.
H. 
This Policy shall become effective immediately upon adoption by Levy Court.