City of Beacon, NY
Dutchess County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Beacon as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 3-16-1992 by L.L. No. 2-1992]

§ 55-1 Purpose.

The purpose of these regulations is to set forth the methods and procedures governing the availability, location and nature of those records of the City of Beacon subject to the provisions of Article 6 of the Public Officers Law, known as the "Freedom of Information Law."

§ 55-2 Information to be open to public.

For the purposes of these regulations, any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with or for the City of Beacon, in any physical form whatsoever, including but not limited to reports, statements, examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photos, letters, microfilms, computer tapes or discs, rules, regulations or codes, shall be subject to disclosure in accordance with the provisions herein.

§ 55-3 Designation of records access officer; procedure for obtaining records.

A. 
The City Clerk of the City of Beacon shall be the custodian of the City records and, as such, is hereby declared to be the records access officer (referred to as the "RAO").
B. 
Procedure for obtaining records.
(1) 
Any person wishing to inspect and/or obtain a copy of any such record may make application to the records access officer. Such application shall be in writing on a form to be prescribed by the records access officer. Blank forms may be obtained from the records access officer either personally or by mail addressed to the Municipal Building. Completed forms may be submitted to the records access officer either personally at such office during City office hours or by mail addressed to such office or to such other office as the records access officer may specify on the application form.
(2) 
Upon receipt of such application, in the proper form and at the appropriate time, the records access officer shall search for the record requested. The records access officer shall, within five business days of the receipt of a written request for a record reasonably described, make such record available to the person requesting it, deny such request in writing or furnish a written acknowledgment of the receipt of such request and a statement of the approximate date when such request will be granted or denied.
(3) 
Upon payment of, or offer to pay, the fee prescribed therefor, the records access officer shall provide a copy of such record and certify to the correctness of such copy or shall certify that he does not have possession of such record or that such record cannot be found after a diligent search. The records access officer may, in his discretion, waive compliance with any formality prescribed by this section, including the use of application forms prescribed by the records access officer.
(4) 
Nothing in this article shall be construed to require the City of Beacon to prepare any records not possessed or maintained by the City of Beacon, except the records specified in § 55-4.

§ 55-4 Officer to maintain current list of records; voting and salary records.

A. 
On behalf of the City of Beacon, the records access officer shall maintain and make available for inspection and copying at the Municipal Building a current list, reasonably detailed by subject matter, of the types of records produced, filed or first kept in the City of Beacon on and after the effective date herein. Such list shall be in conformity with such regulations as may be promulgated by the Committee on Public Access to Records. Any person desiring a copy of such list may request a copy thereof personally or by mail, and one shall be supplied to him.
B. 
Every board, office, council or commission heretofore or hereafter established by the Council shall maintain and make available for public inspection a record of the final votes of each member in every proceeding in which he votes.
C. 
The City Clerk shall maintain a record setting forth the name, public office address, title and salary of every officer or employee of the City of Beacon. This record shall be made available for public inspection and copying by the records access officer.

§ 55-5 Fees.

The fee for photocopies of records shall be $0.25 per page not exceeding nine inches by 14 inches in size. The fees for other types of copies or transcripts and for certificates shall be such reasonable amounts as the records access officer shall establish. The fees charged by the records access officer for records shall not exceed the actual cost of reproducing such record, except when a different fee is otherwise prescribed by law.

§ 55-6 Prevention of invasions of privacy.

A. 
In accordance with the provisions of the Public Officers Law and in conformity with such guidelines as may be promulgated by the Committee on Public Access to Records regarding the prevention of unwarranted invasions of personal privacy, the records access officer may delete from any record identifying details, the disclosure of which would result in an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, prior to making such record available for inspection and/or copying. An unwarranted invasion of personal privacy includes, but shall not be limited to, the following:
(1) 
Disclosure of such personal matters as may have been reported in confidence to any agency or municipality and which are not relevant or essential to the ordinary work of the agency or municipality.
(2) 
Disclosure of employment, medical or credit histories or personal references of applicants for employment, except that such records may be disclosed when the applicant has provided a written release permitting such disclosure.
(3) 
Disclosure of items involving the medical or personal records of a client or patient in a hospital or medical facility.
(4) 
The sale or release of lists of names and addresses in the possession of any agency or municipality if such lists would be used for commercial or fund-raising purposes.
(5) 
Disclosure of items of a personal nature when disclosure would result in economic or personal hardship to the subject party and such records are not relevant or essential to the ordinary work of the agency or municipality.
B. 
In the event that the record is such that personal matters cannot be fully deleted without substantively affecting the record or the identifying details cannot be effectively deleted, the records access officer shall deny access to such record as provided in § 55-7 of this article.
C. 
Unless otherwise provided in this article, disclosure shall not be construed to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy:
(1) 
When identifying details are deleted.
(2) 
When the person to whom a record pertains consents in writing to disclosure.
(3) 
When upon presenting reasonable proof of identity, a person seeks access to records pertaining to him.

§ 55-7 Grant or denial of access to records.

[Amended 8-20-2012 by L.L. No. 20-2012]
A. 
The records access officer shall make available for public inspection and copying all records, except that the records access officer 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 under the provisions of § 55-6.
(3) 
If disclosed, would impair present or imminent contract awards or collective-bargaining negotiations.
(4) 
Are trade secrets or are maintained for the regulation of commercial enterprise 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.
(d) 
Reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques or procedures.
(6) 
If disclosed, would 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 agency policy or determinations.
(8) 
Are examination questions or answers which are requested prior to the final administration of such questions.
B. 
If the records access officer determines that an application to inspect and/or copy records pertains to information not exempt from disclosure under Subsection A hereof, he shall grant the application. If the records access officer determines that an application to inspect and/or copy records pertains to information specifically exempted from disclosure in accordance with Subsection A hereof, he shall deny such application. In denying any application to inspect and/or copy records, the records access officer shall indicate his reason for such denial and shall advise the applicant of his right to appeal such denial to the City Administrator.

§ 55-8 Appeal from denial of access.

[Amended 8-20-2012 by L.L. No. 20-2012]
A. 
Any person whose application to inspect and/or copy records has been denied pursuant to § 55-7 of this article may appeal such denial to the City Administrator within 30 days of the denial. Such appeal must be in writing and must set forth the name and address of the applicant, the specific records requested, the date of the denial and the reasons given for such denial.
B. 
The City Administrator shall forward a copy of the appeal to the New York State Committee on Open Government and the City Council. The City Administrator shall, within 10 days after the receipt of the written appeal, unless extended by agreement of the appealing party, either produce the records sought or redacted portions thereof, or issue a formal response explaining why the records shall not be produced. The City Administrator shall forward a copy of his/her determination to the New York State Committee on Open Government and the City Council.
C. 
An appeal from a determination by the City Administrator pursuant to this section may be made reviewed pursuant Article 78 of the New York State Civil Practice Law and Rules.
[Adopted 6-17-1991 by L.L. No. 3-1991]

§ 55-9 Policy.

The City of Beacon, in accordance with state laws, firmly establishes the City's lasting commitment to all ongoing systematic records programs, and this is to be a continuing administrative function. It is the responsibility of all government employees to contribute to the accomplishment of the program objectives.

§ 55-10 Program objectives.

The objectives of the program should be to:
A. 
Facilitate the creation of usable records containing accurate and complete information.
B. 
Save tax dollars through efficient administration of information resources.
C. 
Prevent the creation of unnecessary records.
D. 
Make recorded information available and readily accessible when needed, thereby minimizing time spent searching for files and documents.
E. 
Ensure the systematic legal disposition of obsolete records.
F. 
Encourage the lasting survival of archival records: those identified as having sufficient legal, administrative, fiscal or historical value to warrant their permanent retention.

§ 55-11 Program responsibility.

The records management program is directly under the duties of the City Administrator.

§ 55-12 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CUSTODY
The control of, and responsibility for, records owned by the local government, regardless of their location.
RECORD
Any book, paper, map, photograph or other information-recording device, regardless of physical form or characteristic, that is made, produced, executed or received by any local government or offices thereof pursuant to law or in connection with the transaction of public business.
RECORDS MANAGEMENT OFFICER
The local officer charged with the responsibility to develop and coordinate the local records management program in accordance with § 57.19 of the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law.
RECORDS MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
An ongoing, coordinated, administrative effort to systematically manage a local government's records from initial creation to final disposition. A records management program includes but is not limited to: the legal disposition of obsolete records; the identification and administration of and access to records of enduring value; filing and indexing systems; the use of computer or other technology in information creation, manipulation and storage; the storage and management of inactive records no longer needed for the conduct of day-to-day business in the office; the microfilming of records; the oversight of the creation and use of forms, correspondence and other records; and the provision for protecting vital records.
RECORDS OF ENDURING VALUE (ARCHIVAL RECORDS)
Those records worthy of permanent retention and special administration because of the importance of the information they contain for continuing administrative, legal or fiscal purposes or for historical or other research.
VITAL RECORDS
Those records of a local government that are essential to its continuing operation. "Vital records" is not used in this context to mean official birth, death or marriage records which are state records and duplicate those held by the state.

§ 55-13 Program elements.

The general elements of a records management/archival administration program include:
A. 
Surveying existing records to determine which ones may be transferred to inactive storage. Inactive storage is for those records no longer required for the conduct of current business, but whose retention periods have not expired. A survey will determine which records are worthy of permanent retention as well as those obsolete records which may be disposed of. Guidelines and procedures governing the disposition of records are listed in State Archives' Records Retention and Disposition Schedules.
B. 
Planning for the use of modern technology, including computers and microfilm, which can be a great benefit to the local government. An assessment of office requirements is an important aspect of planning for technological advances. Not every government will benefit from automation in the same way. The size and financial situation of the local government must be taken into consideration.
C. 
Organizing files and records so that pertinent information can be readily retrieved by officials or the public. Information should be indexed, described and accessible.
D. 
Developing procedures regarding records management and archival practices. An internal procedures manual for use by all office personnel should be developed to provide guidelines for the handling of records, including how they are filed, where they are located, whether or not indices exist and when inactive records may be removed from the office.

§ 55-14 Records management officer.

A. 
Initial designation of records management officer.
(1) 
The City Council shall, in writing, designate one local officer to be records management officer.
(2) 
The City Council shall notify the commissioner, in writing, of the name, title or position in the local government, mailing address and telephone number of the designated records management officer within one month of such designation.
B. 
Vacancy in the position of records management officer.
(1) 
Whenever a vacancy shall occur in the position of records management officer, a replacement shall be designated within 60 days.
(2) 
Within one month of such designation, the governing body of each local government shall notify the Commissioner of Education, in writing, of the records management officer's name, title or position in the local government, mailing address and telephone number.
C. 
Duties of the records management officer. The records management officer shall initiate, coordinate and promote the systematic management of the local government's records in consultation and cooperation with other local officers. Duties of the records management officer shall include but need not be limited to the following;
(1) 
Recommending and guiding the development and application of records management practices for local government employees.
(2) 
Coordinating the continuous disposition of obsolete records in accordance with legal requirements through the adoption and use of records retention and disposition schedules.
(3) 
Recommending to the commissioner suitable retention periods for any records not covered by records retention and disposition schedules.
(4) 
Coordinating the storage and management of inactive records, those no longer needed for the conduct of the day-to-day business of the local government.
(5) 
Reviewing and making recommendations on requests for records storage equipment.
(6) 
Participating in the development of, reviewing proposals for or coordinating any micrographics or automated data processing systems.
(7) 
Organizing or coordinating a program for the identification, administration and use of records of enduring value.

§ 55-15 Local Government Records Advisory Council.

A. 
Membership of the Local Government Records Advisory Council.
(1) 
The Council shall consist of five members selected with consideration to achieving geographic balance.
(2) 
Members shall be appointed for four-year terms, provided that the initial appointment of the Council shall be for one, two, three or four years. Terms shall be staggered so that approximately an equal number of the Council shall be appointed in any subsequent year.
(3) 
The Mayor shall designate the Chairperson of the Local Government Records Advisory Council. The Chairperson shall serve a two-year term and may be reappointed.
(4) 
Members of the Council shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for necessary travel expenses.
B. 
Duties of the Local Government Records Advisory Council. The Local Government Records Advisory Council shall meet at least four times each year and shall have the following responsibilities:
(1) 
Reviewing and providing advice on proposed changes in state legislation, regulations and standards relating to local government records.
(2) 
Reviewing and providing advice on local government records retention and disposition procedures and on the records retention and disposition schedules for local governments.
(3) 
Reviewing and advising on the development and delivery of State Archives and Records Administration's services to local governments.
(4) 
Encouraging organizations, groups and individuals to work for improved local government records management programs.
(5) 
Carrying out any other responsibilities assigned in statute.

§ 55-16 Records retention.

A records retention schedule will be adopted in accordance with the Records Retention and Disposition Schedule MU-1 issued pursuant to Article 57-A of the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law.