The City Clerk shall perform the duties required by law or ordinance. Any enumeration or specification of duties in this article shall be for the purposes of classification and not by way of exclusion of any duties prescribed elsewhere by this chapter or other City ordinance.
[Added 10-9-2012 by Ord. No. 25-2012]
The City Clerk is hereby authorized:
To correct in the text of any ordinance such errors in references to other ordinances and laws and in punctuation and spelling and other obvious errors in form which will not affect the substance of the ordinance, as shall be concurred in by the Corporation Counsel, and shall make such corrections in preparing the ordinance for codification and printing.
To correct errors caused when two or more amendments to the same section of an ordinance are enacted, but such amendments omit provisions of and fail to refer to one another. Only amendments that may be put into simultaneous operation may be reconciled. Corrections shall be with the concurrence of the Corporation Counsel and, thereafter, the office shall prepare the ordinance for codification and printing.
The City Clerk shall, pursuant to law, prepare at the request of the Mayor, City Council or any department certified copies of records which may be utilized as evidence in any court or administrative proceeding or as may be needed to document any study, submission or application prepared in behalf of the City.
The City Clerk shall attend all public meetings of the City Council and transcribe and keep accurate minutes thereof. He shall also attend such meetings of the committees of the City Council as may be requested of him.
He shall perform such tasks, make such studies and submit such reports as the Mayor and City Council may request of him from time to time to aid them in the performance of their duties.
He shall dispatch such official notices or communications as the Mayor and City Council may direct him to do in behalf of the City.
The City Clerk shall have general custody of all records and documents of the City where no other custodian is expressly designated. He shall file and keep safely:
All ordinances of the City, including ordinances of all boards, commissions and agencies except the Board of Education.
Resolutions of the City Council and such resolutions of the boards, commissions and agencies of the City as are not otherwise retained by the respective boards, commissions or agencies as part of their official records.
Copies of all written regulations issued by the Mayor or by any department, board, commission or agency pursuant to any law of the state, this chapter or any other ordinance of the City.
The minutes of all public meetings of the City Council and such other written minutes of the committees of the City Council and other meetings of the City Council as shall be reduced to written form.
All maps and official papers which by law or ordinance are required to be placed on file with the City Clerk.
All abstracts of title, leases, deeds, contracts or other legal documents to which the City is a party.
All surety bonds and contracts of insurance of the City.
A list of oaths of office, terms of office and expiration dates of all appointees to any board, commission or agency.
All personnel records.
The City Clerk shall make such arrangements for the safekeeping, classification and indexing of all such records and documents in accordance with state law, provided that no such records and documents shall be destroyed or disposed of unless at least 15 days' notice has been given to the Mayor and City Council.
There is hereby established the office of Deputy City Clerk.
The Deputy City Clerk shall be appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council.
The Deputy City Clerk shall perform such duties as may be assigned by the City Clerk. He shall have all the powers and duties of the City Clerk during such times and for such periods as the City Clerk shall be absent or in case of vacancy in the office of City Clerk.
[Added 9-24-2012 by Ord. No. 24-2012]
Purpose. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the City of East Orange to recognize the public's general right to know pursuant to the Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.
Right to inspect, examine, copy government records. The public shall, in accordance with the terms set forth in this section, have the right to inspect, examine or copy any government record maintained by public agencies, with the exception of those records to which public access would violate an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy and those records specifically exempt by law pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.
Custodian and deputy custodians of records. Except as provided in Subsection M of this section:
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq., the City Clerk shall be the Custodian of Records for all government records of the City.
The Custodian of Records shall adopt a form for the use of any person who requests access to a government record.
The Clerk hereby designates Deputy Custodians within each division or department, set forth specifically in Subsection M, who shall assist the Custodian of Records to respond efficiently to any request for government records not maintained within the office of the City Clerk. Each Deputy Custodian shall submit to the Clerk's office a bimonthly report. Said report shall be in a form and contain information to be determined by the City Clerk.
Inspection, examination and copying of public records.
Any requestor seeking to inspect, examine or copy a public record shall make application in writing to the Custodian of Records during regular business hours; faxed and e-mailed requests are prohibited. All requests shall be on a form provided and shall specify in detail the type of record requested and, if known, the date created.
If a request for access to a government record would substantially disrupt the operation of City government, the Custodian of Records 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 City.
Time limits for compliance.
Unless a shorter period is required by statute, regulation or executive order, the Custodian of Record shall grant access to a public record or deny such access in writing within a period of seven business days after he or she receives the request, if possible. If the Custodian of Record is unable to comply with a request for access, he or she shall indicate on the request form the specific basis for such inability and shall promptly return it to the requestor. The custodian shall sign and date the form and provide the requestor with a copy thereof. Failure to respond within seven business days shall be deemed a denial of the request.
The Custodian of Record shall impose fees for copies of public records in accordance with N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5 et seq.
The Custodian of Record shall require a deposit prior to reproducing a public record or records where the cost of reproduction will exceed $25. The amount of the deposit shall equal the total estimated cost of reproducing the public record or records.
Special service charge.
Notwithstanding Subsection F(1), in addition to the actual cost of duplication, the Custodian of Records may impose a special service charge:
Whenever the nature, format, manner of collation or volume of a government record embodied in the form of printed matter to be inspected, examined or copied is such that the record cannot be produced by ordinary document-copying equipment in ordinary business size or involves an extraordinary expenditure of time and effort to accommodate the request, including, but not limited to, retrieval of documents from storage or which have been archived;
When the request is for a government record in a medium not routinely developed or maintained by the City; or
When a request for a government record requires a substantial amount of manipulation or programming of information technology by the City, and the cost of such manipulation or programming is not otherwise included in the fee.
The special service charge shall consist of the following:
A service charge of $45 per hour for each hour deemed necessary to respond to the request.
The Custodian of Records shall advise the requester of the estimate of charges, which shall include the actual cost of duplicating the records and a special service charge that shall be reasonable and shall be based on the actual direct cost of providing the copy or copies. If the requestor objects to the charge after having reviewed the same, the Custodian of Records shall not incur said charges until an agreement is reached between the requestor and the Custodian of Records.
There will be a minimum mailing charge of $0.50 whenever copies of a document are requested to be mailed. The Custodian of Records shall assess additional mailing charges where the size and weight of the requested documents so requires. Where a recording of a public meeting is requested, there will be a postage and handling fee of $2 per tape or disk.
Exceptions to OPRA. All government records are subject to public access unless specifically exempt under OPRA (N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1 et seq.) or any other law, statute, regulation or executive order.
Certain documents not deemed public record until in final form. The following documents shall not be considered government records until put into final form:
Unapproved minutes of open sessions of the City Council and of the boards, commissions and agencies of the City.
Unapproved minutes of executive sessions of the City Council and of the boards, commissions and agencies of the City and any reports or documents or other materials used by City Council or any board, commission or agency of the City relating to issues discussed in executive session so long as executive session minutes have not been approved.
Reports prepared for review by the Mayor or City Council or any board, commission or agency of the City prior to the expiration of seven calendar days after the receipt of the report by the Mayor or City Council or any board, commission or agency of the City.
If a government record is not in final form, the custodian shall notify the requestor within seven business days after the custodian receives the request. The custodian shall also notify the requestor when the record can be made available.
Opinion of attorney in questionable cases. In instances where the Custodian of Record harbors doubt as to whether or not a document is a public record or is a public record exempt from disclosure, the Custodian of Record shall request an opinion from the Corporation Counsel. A copy of the request form shall be forwarded to the Corporation Counsel, who after review shall issue an opinion. The Corporation Counsel shall note his or her opinion on the request form and shall promptly return said form to the Custodian of Record.
Partial production of government records. If any part of a particular record is exempt from public access under N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq., the Custodian of Records shall delete, redact or excise that portion which is exempt from access and shall promptly permit access to the remainder of the public record.
Large volume requests. If the Custodian of Record determines that a request for access to a public record would substantially disrupt the operation of City government, he or she may deny access to the public record after an attempt to reach a reasonable solution with the requestor has failed.
Posting of appeals procedure. The City 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 language the right to appeal a denial or failure to provide access to a public record and the procedure by which the appeal may be filed.
Department heads and division managers. Each department head in his/her absence thereof division manager, the Chief of Police, Fire Chief and secretaries to the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment are hereby designated as Deputy Custodians for the purpose of fulfilling requests for records from their respective departments.
All requests for public records shall be given to the City Clerk on a form provided by the City Clerk.
The City Clerk, in his/her discretion, shall assign the requests to the Deputy Custodian to administer the request.
The Deputy Custodians shall adhere to the time limits for compliance set forth in Subsection E of this section and notify the City Clerk of the production of documents.
The Deputy Custodians shall provide the Clerk with dates of compliance to all requests for access to public records.