[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Chester 12-10-1980 by resolution. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The people's right to know the process of government decision making 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 from the Town of Chester, hereinafter "the Town."
The Town personnel shall furnish to the public the information and records required by the Freedom of Information Law, as well as records otherwise available by law.
The Town Clerk's office shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the regulations herein and shall designate one or more persons as records access officer by name or by specific job title and business address, who shall have the duty of coordinating response to public requests for access to records. The designation of one or more records access officers shall not be construed to prohibit officials who have in the past been authorized to make records or information available to the public from continuing to do so.
The records access officer is responsible for assuring that the Town personnel:
Maintain an up-to-date subject matter list.
Assist the requester in identifying requested records, if necessary.
Upon request, certify that a record is a true copy.
Records shall be available for public inspection and copying at the Town Hall, Kings Highway, Chester, New York, and at the Town Highway Garage, Larue Road, Chester, New York.
All requests for records shall be made in writing.
Requests for records shall be honored within five business days of receipt of such request.
Requests shall reasonably describe the record or records sought. Whenever possible, the request shall specify dates, file designations or other information that might help in describing the record sought.
Should the Clerk fail to provide or deny access to the records sought within five business days of the receipt of such request, the Clerk shall furnish a written acknowledgment of receipt of the request and a statement of the approximate date when the request will be granted or denied. Failure of the Clerk to either grant or deny a request within 10 business days after the date of acknowledgment of receipt of a request shall be construed as a denial of access that may be appealed.
The Clerk shall maintain a reasonably detailed current list by subject matter of all records in his possession, whether or not records are available pursuant to Subdivision 2 of § 87 of the Public Officers Law.
The subject matter list shall be sufficiently detailed to permit identification of the category of the record sought.
The subject matter list shall be updated not less than twice per year. The most recent update shall appear on the first page of the subject matter list.
The Town Board shall hear appeals or shall designate a person or body to hear appeals regarding denial of access to records under the Freedom of Information Law.
Denial of access shall be in writing stating the reason therefor and advising the person denied access of his or her right to appeal to the person or body established to hear appeals, and that person or body shall be identified by name, title, business address and business telephone number. The records access officer shall not be the appeals officer.
If an agency fails to respond to a request within five business days of receipt of a request as required in § 22-5D, such failure shall be deemed a denial of access by the agency.
Any person denied access to records may appeal within 30 days of a denial.
The Town Board shall transmit to the Committee on Public Access to Records copies of all appeals upon receipt of an appeal. Such copies shall be addressed to:
The Town Board shall inform the appellant and the Committee on Public Access to Records of the determination in writing within seven business days of receipt of an appeal. The determination shall be transmitted to the Committee on Public Access to Records in the same manner as set forth in Subsection F of this section.
Except when a different fee is otherwise prescribed by law:
The fee for copying records shall be in the amount of $0.25 per page for photocopies not exceeding nine inches by 14 inches.
The Town shall publicize, by posting in a conspicuous location and/or by publication in a local newspaper of general circulation:
The location where records shall be made available for inspection and copying.
The name, title, business address and business telephone number of the designated records access officer.
The right to appeal by any person denied access to a record, and the name and business address of the person or body to whom an appeal is to be directed.