[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Paramus 3-11-1997 by Ord. No. 97-11. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Borough of Paramus hereby creates a Borough Public Records Policy governing public records created/governed by:
All requests for public records shall be made through the Borough Clerk's office on a form approved by the Borough. No request for public records shall be honored without a properly filled out form, except for documents requested by the Mayor and/or Borough Council, the Borough Attorney or other Borough Special Counsel and tax record cards requested by taxpayers of the Tax Assessor, pursuant to a pending Bergen County Board of Taxation or New Jersey State Tax Court appeal(s).
All requests for public records by taxpayers, citizens, newspaper reporters, attorneys and other applicable parties directed to department heads or other Borough officials/employees shall be directed to the Borough Clerk's office, which will serve as the repository of such requests and the dissemination of said forms to obtain public records not within the Clerk's control/possession.
[Amended 4-2-2019 by Ord. No. 19-07]
Upon receipt of a request for public records, if said records are public, the Borough will endeavor to honor such request within seven business days of the receipt of said request. "Working days" are defined as Monday through Friday, excluding holidays and weekends. However, there will be times when, due to the nature or extent of the request or manpower, the Borough will be unable to honor the request within seven business days; if such, the Borough shall attempt to complete such request as soon as feasibly possible.
All persons requesting public records must understand that the public business of the Borough will take precedence over a record request, especially where such request is a broad or far-reaching information request.
All requests for public records shall, whenever possible, be as specific as possible in seeking such records, and the Borough reserves the right to reject a public records request when it is random in nature or when it will involve the extensive use of Borough employee time and/or presence of a Borough employee to ensure security of the records in question.
[Amended 5-9-2000 by Ord. No. 00-14]
All requests for public records shall, except for requests by Borough employees/officials acting in their official capacity and nonprofit organizations, be subject to the Borough's policy as to copying costs. Said policy as to copying costs is utilized pursuant to the provisions as set forth in N.J.S.A. 47:1A-2, with the exception that all audio tape reproduction shall be subject to a ten-dollar copying fee for each reproduced tape. All audio tapes are to be supplied by the person making such a request. If an individual/entity does not supply a tape for recording, no such reproduction will occur.
The following records, or types of records, which are not public and shall not be made available to public are, but not limited to, the following:
Records of a personal nature regarding Borough officials, employees and/or other applicable individuals.
Medical records of Borough officials, employees and/or other applicable individuals.
All records exempted by state and/or federal statutes, rules and/or regulations.
All records exempted by presidential and/or gubernatorial executive order.
All records which are not included in the definition of "public records" pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq., where applicable.
Confidential police investigation reports.
Work product or notes of Borough officials/employees.
Council closed session minutes involving personnel matters. Council open session minutes shall not be considered public records until such time as they are approved by the Borough Council. Council closed session minutes, other than involving personnel matters, shall not be considered public records until such time as they are approved by the Borough Council and the matter(s) in question have been concluded pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 et seq. A report prepared for review by the Mayor and Borough Council shall not be deemed a public record until at least seven calendar days after disbursement of the report by the Borough Clerk to the Mayor and Council or the next Council meeting, whichever is later.
Not all requests for public records do, in fact, lead to the copying, review and/or release of such records. A public record may be a public record under common law, but may not be a public record under the "Right to Know" Law (N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.), or vice versa, or it may be or may not be a public record under any other legal statute, rules, regulation and/or court decision. The Borough Clerk shall seek the opinion of the designated Borough attorney as to whether or not a record is public if there is any question as to its potential copying, review and/or release. The Borough Clerk's actions on this type of matter shall be guided by such legal opinion.
[Added 10-24-2000 by Ord. No. 00-43]
All public meetings of the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Paramus shall be audiotape recorded and a copy of the recording maintained for the period established by the State of New Jersey, Department of State, Bureau of Archives.
It shall be the duty of the Borough Clerk to ensure that all public meetings are tape recorded and that the copies of recordings are safely maintained and preserved as aforesaid.
Upon the request of any person, a copy of the audiotape of any public meeting shall be provided. The fee for a copy of audiotapes shall be as provided by § 341-5.