[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Andover 7-27-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-16. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is declared to be the public policy of this Township that in accordance with the Public Open Records Act (N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.) all government records kept in the course of official duties by any Township officer or employee shall be readily accessible for inspection, copying or examination, with certain exceptions for the protection of the public interest.
For purposes of this chapter, a government record is any paper, written or printed book, document, drawing, map, plan, photograph, microfilm, data-processed or image-processed document, information stored or maintained electronically or by sound recording or in a similar device, or any copy thereof, that has been made, maintained or kept on file in the course of his or its official business by any officer, commission, agency or authority of the state or any political subdivision thereof, including subordinate boards thereof.
The term "government record" shall not include interagency or intraagency advisory, consultative, or deliberative material.
A government record shall not include the following information, which is deemed to be confidential for the purposes of P.L. 1963, c.73 (N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.), as amended and supplemented:
Any copy, reproduction or facsimile of any photograph, negative or print, including instant photographs and videotapes of the body, or any portion of the body, of a deceased person taken by or for the medical examiner at the scene of death or in the course of a post-mortem examination or autopsy made by or caused to be made by the medical examiner except:
When used in a criminal action or proceeding in this state which relates to the death of that person;
For use as a court of this state permits, by order after good cause has been shown and after written notification of the request for the court order has been served at least five days before the order is made upon the county prosecutor for the county in which the post-mortem examination or autopsy occurred;
For use in the field of forensic pathology or for use in medical or scientific education or research; or
For use by any law enforcement agency in this state or any other state or federal law enforcement agency.
Criminal investigatory records.
Victims' records, except that a victim of a crime shall have access to the victim's own records.
Trade secrets and proprietary commercial or financial information obtained from any source. For the purposes of this item, "trade secrets" shall include data processing software obtained by a public body under a licensing agreement which prohibits its disclosure.
Any record within the attorney-client privilege. This item shall not be construed as exempting from access attorney or consultant bills or invoices, except that such bills or invoices may be redacted to remove any information protected by the attorney-client privilege.
Administrative or technical information regarding computer hardware, software and networks which, if disclosed, would jeopardize computer security.
Emergency or security information or procedures for any building or facility which, if disclosed, would jeopardize security of the building or facility or persons therein.
Security measures and surveillance techniques which, if disclosed, would create a risk to the safety of persons, property, electronic data or software.
Information which, if disclosed, would give an advantage to competitors or bidders; information generated by or on behalf of public employers or public employees in connection with any sexual harassment complaint filed with a public employer or with any grievance filed by or against an individual or in connection with collective negotiations, including documents and statements of strategy or negotiating position.
Information which is a communication between a public agency and its insurance carrier, administrative service organization or risk management office.
Information which is to be kept confidential pursuant to court order, and that portion of any document which discloses the social security number, credit card number, unlisted telephone number or driver's license number of any person, except for use by any government agency, including any court or law enforcement agency, in carrying out its functions or any private person or entity acting on behalf thereof, or any private person or entity seeking to enforce payment of court-ordered child support, except with respect to the disclosure of driver information by the Division of Motor Vehicles as permitted by section 2 of P.L. 1997, c. 188 (N.J.S.A. 39:2-3.4), and except that a social security number contained in a record required by law to be made, maintained or kept on file by a public agency shall be disclosed when access to the document or disclosure of that information is not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law, regulation or order or by state statute, resolution of either or both houses of the Legislature, executive order of the Governor, rule of court or regulation promulgated under the authority of any statute or executive order of the Governor.
The personnel or pension records of any individual in the possession of a public agency, including but not limited to records relating to any grievance filed by or against an individual, shall not be considered a government record and shall not be made available for public access, except that:
An individual's name, title, position, salary, payroll record, length of service, date of separation and the reason therefor, and the amount and type of any pension received shall be a government record;
Personnel or pension records of any individual shall be accessible when required to be disclosed by another law, when disclosure is essential to the performance of official duties of a person duly authorized by this state or the United States, or when authorized by an individual in interest; and
Data contained in information which disclosed conformity with specific experiential, educational or medical qualifications required for government employment or for receipt of a public pension, but not including any detailed medical or psychological information, shall be a government record.
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, the Municipal Clerk is designated as the custodian of records.
The Township hereby designates the Assistant Municipal Clerk as the deputy custodian of records and the Chief of Police as deputy custodian of records for the Police Department.
The Clerk shall adopt forms for the use by any person who requests access to a record, and such form shall contain all of the information required by N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5(f).
Any person seeking to inspect, examine or copy a public record of this municipality shall make application in writing to the Municipal Clerk or designated deputy custodian of records, during regular business hours, on the form(s) provided. All requests for public records shall be as specific as possible, including the type of record and date created, if known.
In those instances where the nature of the request or the record itself leads the Municipal Clerk to doubt whether or not the record is a "government record," as defined by law, or is a record exempt from disclosure, the Clerk shall request an opinion from the Municipal Attorney. A copy of the request form shall be forwarded to the Attorney, who, after review and investigation, shall issue an opinion and note such opinion on the request form and promptly return it to the Municipal Clerk.
If any part of a particular record is exempt from public access pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq., the Clerk shall delete, redact or excise from a copy of the record that portion which is exempt from public access and shall promptly permit access to the remainder of the record.
If the record requested is temporarily unavailable because it is in use or in storage, the Clerk shall so advise the requestor and shall make arrangements to make a copy of the record once the record is available.
If request for access to a government record would substantially disrupt municipal operations, the Clerk may deny access to the record after attempting to reach a reasonable solution with the requestor that accommodates the interests of the requestor and the municipality.
As required by N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5e, immediate access shall be granted for access to budgets, bills, vouchers, contracts (including collective negotiations, agreements and individual employment contracts) and public salary and overtime information.
Unless a shorter time period is otherwise provided by statute, regulation or executive order, the Clerk will fulfill the request as soon as possible, but not later than seven business days after receiving the request, provided that the record is currently available and not in storage or archived. In the event that the Clerk fails to respond within seven days after receiving a request, the failure to respond shall be deemed a denial of the request, unless the requestor has elected not to provide a name, address or telephone number or other means of contacting the requestor. If the requestor has elected not to provide a name, address or telephone number or other means of contacting the requestor, the Clerk shall not be required to respond until the requestor reappears before the custodian seeking a response to the original request. If the government record is in storage or archived, the requestor shall be so advised within seven business days after the Clerk receives the request. The requestor shall be advised by the Clerk when the record can be made available. If the record is not made available by that time, access shall be deemed denied.
The Clerk shall post prominently in public view, in or adjacent to the Clerk's office, a statement that sets forth in clear, concise and specific terms the right to appeal a denial of or failure to provide access to a government record and the procedure by which an appeal may be filed.
Upon the approval of a request to view, inspect, examine or copy a record, the record and the requestor will remain in the presence of the Municipal Clerk or his or her authorized representative at all times. Under no circumstances shall any government record be removed from the office where it is normally kept unless accompanied by the custodian or his or her authorized representative.
[Amended 2-9-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-02]
Copies of records may be purchased for the fee prescribed by law or regulation. If a fee is not prescribed by law or regulation, the fee shall be the actual cost of duplicating the record, provided, however, that where the actual cost for duplication of a record exceeds the rates below, the actual cost shall be imposed:
Standard-sized paper documents, up to 8 1/2 inches by 14 inches in size: $0.07 per page.
Large-sized paper documents and maps.
Zoning Map: $0.07 per page if the map is copied utilizing paper 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches or 8 1/2 inches by 14 inches in size; or the actual cost of reproduction if it is sent to an outside agency.
Street Map: $0.07 per page if the map is copied utilizing paper 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches or 8 1/2 inches by 14 inches in size; or the actual cost of reproduction if it is sent to an outside agency.
Site plan: actual cost.
Subdivision plat: actual cost.
Tax Maps: $7 or actual cost.
Engineering plans: actual cost.
Police reports and photographs.
[Amended 9-26-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-12]
Police accident reports: same as Subsection A above, if requested and picked up in person during regular business hours.
Police accident reports, if requested other than in person: same as Subsection A above, in addition to an administrative fee of up to $5 per report, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-131.
Copy of videotape. Tape supplied by the municipality: $1 per tape.
Copy of audiotape. Tape supplied by the municipality: $1.50 per tape.
Copy of electronic document or database. The following fees cover the cost of copying existing files to a floppy disk or CD. Any requests for software conversions shall be subject to the special service charge described in Subsection G below. For security reasons, the use of a floppy disk or CD provided by the requestor is prohibited.
Where a copy of a video, audio or electronic record is requested and the requestor has provided videotape, audio cassette, computer diskette or CD, there will be no charge if the record can be duplicated in-house by Township employees. However, where it is necessary to out-source the request, a special service charge may apply.
A special service charge shall be imposed, in addition to the actual cost of duplicating the record, where the nature, format, manner of collation or volume of printed matter is such that it cannot be reproduced by ordinary document-copying equipment in ordinary business size or where such record involves an extraordinary expenditure of time and effort to accommodate the request. The requestor shall have the opportunity to review and object to the special service charge prior to it being incurred.
Conversion of records from one medium to another. Cost of duplication plus special service charges as follows:
Conversion of paper record to electronic form: actual cost.
Conversion of electronic files from one software product to another: actual cost.
If the request for a record is: a) not in a medium not routinely used by the Township; b) not routinely developed or maintained by the Township; or 3) requires substantial amount of manipulation or programming of information technologies, the Township will impose a special charge based on the cost for extensive use of information technology or for labor cost of personnel providing the services that is actually incurred by the Township or attributable to the Township for the programming, clerical and supervisory assistance required, or both. The requestor shall have the opportunity to review and object to the special service charge prior to it being incurred.
Applicable postage shall be added for any and all records requested by mail.
A deposit shall be paid prior to filling any anonymous request where it is estimated that the information requested will cost in excess of $5 to reproduce. The amount of the deposit shall equal the total estimated cost of filling the request.
For purposes of this chapter, "actual cost" shall mean the cost of materials and supplies used to make a duplicate.
All ordinances and parts of ordinances and specifically Chapter 3 of the Code of the Township of Andover setting forth general fees, which are inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter, are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistency.