[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Ledgeview 6-22-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-008; amended in its entirety 9-19-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-05. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meaning indicated:
- Any of the following Town entities having custody of a Town record: an office, elected official, agency, board, commission, committee, council, department, or public body corporate and politic created by constitution, law, ordinance, rule or order, or a formally constituted subunit of the foregoing.
- That officer, department head, division head or employee of the Town designated under § 3-3 or otherwise responsible by law to keep and preserve any Town records of file, deposit or keep such records in his or her office, or who is lawfully in possession or entitled to possession of such public records and who is required by this chapter to respond to requests for access to such records.
- Any material on which written, drawn, printed, spoken, visual or electromagnetic information is recorded or preserved, regardless of physical form or characteristics, which has been created or is being kept by an authority. "Record" includes, but is not limited to, handwritten, typed or printed pages, maps, charts, photographs, films, recordings, tapes (including computer tapes), computer printouts and optical disks. "Record" does not include drafts, notes, preliminary computations and like materials prepared for the originator's personal use or prepared by the originator in the name of a person for whom the originator is working; materials which are purely the personal property of the custodian and have no relation to his or her office; materials to which access is limited by copyright, patent or bequest; and published materials in the possession of an authority other than a public library which are available for sale, or which are available for inspection at a public library.
- The Town of Ledgeview, Brown County, Wisconsin, and its administrative subunits.
Except as provided under § 3-8, each officer and employee of the Town shall safely keep and preserve all records received from his or her predecessor or other persons and requested by law to be filed, deposited, or kept in his or her office or which are in the lawful possession or control of which he or she or they may be lawfully entitled as such officers and employees.
Upon the expiration of an officer's term of office or an employee's term of employment, or whenever the office or position of employment becomes vacant, each such officer or employee shall deliver to his or her successor all records then in his or her custody and the successor shall receipt therefor to the officer or employee, who shall file said receipt with the Town Clerk, on behalf of the successor, to be delivered to such successor upon the latter's receipt.
Each elected official is the legal custodian of his or her records and the records of his or her office, but the official may designate an employee of his or her staff to act as the legal custodian.
Unless otherwise prohibited by law, the Town Clerk or the Clerk's designee shall act as legal custodian for the Town Board and for any committees, commissions, boards, or other authorities created by ordinance or resolution of the Town Board, except the Town Treasurer shall be the legal custodian for all records in his or her possession. In the event the Town Clerk is not available, then the Deputy Clerk shall act on his or her behalf as legal custodian.
The Town Clerk or, in his or her absence or disability, or in case of vacancy, the Deputy Clerk is hereby designated the legal custodian of all Town records.
Except as provided in § 3-6, any person has a right to inspect a record and to make or receive a copy of any record as provided in § 19.35(1), Wis. Stats.
Records will be available for inspection and copying during all regular office hours.
A requestor shall be permitted to use facilities comparable to those available to Town employees to inspect, copy, or abstract a record.
The legal custodian may require supervision during inspection or may impose other reasonable restrictions on the manner of access to an original record if the record is irreplaceable or easily damaged. No original public records of the Town shall be removed from the possession of the legal custodian.
A requestor shall be charged a fee to defray the cost of locating and copying records as follows:
The cost of photocopying shall be set by the Town Board. Said cost will be calculated not to exceed the actual, necessary, and direct cost of reproduction.
If the form of a written record does not permit copying, the actual and necessary cost of photographing and photograhic process shall be charged.
The actual full cost of providing a copy of other records not in printed form on paper, such as films, computer printouts, and audiotapes or videotapes, shall be charged.
A request for electronic transfer of records, including any records to be provided via e-mail, pdf, DVD, thumb drive, or other electronic format, shall be charged a fee using the calculation of a minimum of five minutes of staff time at the employee's current per-hour rate of pay and benefits, plus the cost of the physical medium used.
If mailing or shipping is necessary, the actual cost thereof shall also be charged.
The legal custodian shall estimate the cost of all applicable fees and may require a cost deposit adequate to assure payment if such estimate exceeds $5.
Elected and appointed officials of the Town shall not be required to pay for public records they may reasonably require for the proper performance of their official duties.
The legal custodian may provide copies of a record without charge or at a reduced charge where he or she determines that waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest.
No record shall be released until fees for such record are received.
Pursuant to § 19.34, Wis. Stats., and the guidelines therein listed, each authority shall adopt, prominently display, and make available for inspection and copying at its offices, for the guidance of the public, a notice containing a description of its organization and the established times and places at which, the legal custodian, and the methods whereby the public may obtain information and access to records in its custody, make requests for records or obtain copies of records, and the costs thereof.
A request to inspect or copy a record shall be made to the legal custodian. A request shall be deemed sufficient if it reasonably describes the requested record or the information requested. However, a request for a record without a reasonable limitation as to subject matter or length of time represented by the record does not constitute a sufficient request. A request may be made orally, but a request must be in writing before an action to enforce the request is commenced under § 19.37, Wis. Stats. Except as provided below, no request may be refused because the person making the request is unwilling to be identified or to state the purpose of the request. No request may be refused because the request is received by mail, unless prepayment of a fee is required under § 3-4E(6). A requester may be required to show acceptable identification whenever security reasons or federal law or regulations so require.
Each custodian, upon request for any record, shall, as soon as practicable and without delay, either fill the request or notify the requester of any authority's determination to deny the request in whole or in part and the reasons therefor. If the legal custodian, after conferring with the Town Attorney, determined that a written request is so general as to be unduly time consuming, the party making the request may first be required to itemize his or her request in a manner which would permit reasonable compliance.
A request for a record may be denied as provided in § 3-6. If a request is made orally, the request may be denied orally unless a demand for a written statement of the reasons for denying the request is made by the requester within five business days of the oral denial. If a written request is denied in whole or in part, the requester shall receive a written statement of the reasons for denying the request. Every written denial of a request shall inform the requester that, if the request for the record was made in writing, then the determination is subject to review upon petition of a writ of mandamus under § 19.37(1), Wis. Stats., or upon application of the Attorney General or a district attorney.
As provided by § 19.36, Wis. Stats., the following records are exempt from inspections under this chapter.
Records specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal law or authorized to be exempted from disclosure by state law or federal law or regulations;
Any record relating to investigative information obtained for law enforcement purposes if federal law or regulations require exemption from disclosure or if exemption from disclosure is a condition to receipt of aids by the state;
Computer programs, although the material used as input for a computer program or the material produced as a product of the computer program is subject to inspection; and
Pursuant to § 905.08, Wis. Stats., a record or any portion of a record containing information qualifying as a common-law trade secret. "Trade secrets" are defined as unpatented, secret, commercially valuable plans, appliances, formulas, or processes, which are used for making, preparing, compounding, treating or processing articles, materials or information, which are obtained from a person and which are generally recognized as confidential.
As provided by § 43.30, Wis. Stats., public library circulation records are exempt from inspection under this chapter.
In responding to a request for inspection or copying of a record which is not specifically exempt from disclosure, the legal custodian, after conferring with the Town Attorney, may deny the request, in whole or in part, only if he or she determines that the harm to the public interest resulting from disclosure would outweigh the public interest in full access to the request record. Examples of matters for which disclosure may be refused include, but are not limited to, the following:
Records obtained under official pledges of confidentiality which were necessary and given in order to obtain the information contained in them.
Pursuant to § 19.85(1)(a), Wis. Stats., records of current deliberations after a quasi-judicial hearing.
Pursuant to § 19-85(1)(b) and (c), Wis. Stats., records of current deliberations concerning employment, dismissal, promotion, demotion, compensation, performance or discipline of any Town officer or employee, or the investigation of charges against a Town officer or employee, unless such officer or employee consents to such disclosure.
Pursuant to § 19.85(1)(d), Wis. Stats., record concerning current strategy for crime detection or prevention.
Pursuant to § 19.85(1)(e), Wis. Stats., records of current deliberations or negotiations on the purchase of Town property, investing of Town funds or other Town business whenever competitive or bargaining reasons require nondisclosure.
Pursuant to § 19.85(1)(f), Wis. Stats., financial, medical, social or personal histories or disciplinary data of specific persons which, if disclosed, would be likely to have a substantial adverse effect upon the reputation of any person referred to in such history or data.
Pursuant to § 19.85(1)(g), Wis. Stats., communications between legal counsel for the Town and any officer, agent or employee of the Town, when advice is being rendered concerning strategy with respect to current litigation in which the Town or any of its officers, agents or employees is or is likely to become involved, or communications which are privileged under § 905.03, Wis. Stats.
Pursuant to § 19.85(1)(h), Wis. Stats., requests for confidential written advice from an ethics board or records of advice given by such ethics board on such requests.
If a record contains information that may be made public and information that may not be made public, the legal custodian of the record shall provide the information that may be made public and delete the information that may not be made public from the record before release. The legal custodian shall confer with the Town Attorney prior to releasing any such record and shall follow the guidance of the Town Attorney when separating out the exempt material. If, in the judgment of the legal custodian and the Town Attorney, there is no feasible way to separate the exempt material from the nonexempt material without unreasonably jeopardizing nondisclosure of the exempt material, the entire record shall be withheld from disclosure.
Any Town officer, or the director of any department or division of Town government, may, subject to the approval of the Town Board, keep and preserve public records in his or her possession by means of Electronic Filing System. Such records shall meet the standards for photographic reproduction set forth in § 16.61(7)(a) and (b), Wis. Stats., and shall be considered original records for all purposes. Such records shall be preserved along with other files of the department or division and shall be open to public inspection and copying according to the provisions of state law and of §§ 3-4 through 3-6 of this chapter.
Purpose. This section is enacted to establish a schedule to ensure Town records are properly retained according to Wisconsin's Public Records Law while permitting the destruction of old and obsolete records which necessarily consume storage resources and make more difficult the location of pertinent records.
Except as otherwise limited by statute, including, but not limited to, Wis. Stats. § 19.35(5) relating to the destruction of records after receipt of a public records request, the Town Clerk, on at least an annual basis, shall appropriately dispose of or destroy all records which have been retained beyond the period of time required in the schedule established herein. Pursuant to Wis. Stats. § 19.21(5)(c), all retention periods shorter than seven years and not specifically prescribed by statute were approved by the State of Wisconsin Public Records Board on [insert date]. This schedule further indicates all records for which the State Historical Society has expressly waived notice requirements pursuant to Wis. Stats. § 19.21(5)(d), for which notice shall be required and for which notice is inapplicable due to permanent retention requirements. All retention periods are considered to begin on the date of creation of the record if created by a Town official or employee or the day it became a public record by receipt from an external source. Retention periods for fiscal records, marked "FIS," begin after the expiration of the fiscal year to which the record applies.
Editor's Note: Said date will be inserted upon state approval of Ord. No. 2010-008.
The following public records may be destroyed after the expiration of the designated retention period: