Contact the General Manager, Jonathan Abboud, for Public Records Act Requests
ISLA VISTA COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT
PUBLIC RECORDS ACT POLICY
The purposes of this PUBLIC RECORDS ACT POLICY (“Policy”) are: (1) to establish regulations for members of the public to follow when submitting a request to inspect and/or copy public records to the ISLA VISTA COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT (“District”) pursuant to the California Public Records Act (“PRA”); (2) to provide guidance to staff regarding preparing responses to all PRA requests received; (3) to clearly set forth the District’s policies and procedures for handling requests to inspect and/or copy public records; and (4) is designed to be in compliance with the PRA and all existing laws pertaining to disclosure of public records in order to facilitate the public’s right of access as prescribed by law.
The General Manager, or their designee, is authorized by the BOARD OF DIRECTORS (“Board”) to interpret and implement this Policy, and to develop any forms or other administrative procedures necessary and proper to carry out the purposes of this Policy.
Pursuant to Government Code Section 6250, et seq., the following qualifications will govern the District’s response to a request for inspection or copying of records pursuant to the PRA.
- Methods to Assist the Public in Making Requests
- The General Manager will create and maintain, or cause to be created and maintained, a District email address for the receipt of PRA requests via email.
- The General Manager will create and maintain, or cause to be created and maintained, a form consistent with the requirements of the PRA, to assist in the making of PRA requests by the public, whether by email or other written means.
- Receiving a Request
- District administrative staff are central to the District’s PRA request receipt and response processes. The General Manager fulfills the function of the Board Secretary and acts as the District’s official Custodian of Records. As such, the General Manager is responsible for overseeing the administrative processing of PRA requests to ensure compliance with the response requirements of the PRA. All PRA requests must be directed to District administrative staff, with the Assistant General Manager as the designated recipient. If a member of the public attempts to submit a PRA request to anyone other than the Assistant General Manager, the requesting person must understand and accept that the District’s response may be delayed. All PRA requests received by anyone other than the Assistant General Manager must be directed to the Assistant General Manager as soon as possible after receipt, and in any event, no later than 24 hours after receipt.
- PRA requests may be submitted verbally or in writing. The requestor may access public records by inspecting public records at a location designated by the General Manager during normal business hours. The General Manager may promulgate reasonable procedures to control access consistent with any declared emergency. The requestor may also request copies of public records. The District shall not delay or obstruct the inspection or copying of public records. Copies of public records to be created by the District will incur a charge per the District’s fee schedule, and any copying charges must be paid prior to release of the copies of the requested records. Electronic records will not incur any copying charges but may incur other charges depending on the types of electronic records requested, as provided in the PRA.
- A PRA request should describe the requested records with enough focus, specificity, and clarity that the General Manager can identify and locate the records being sought. For example, the PRA request should include dates, names, locations, addresses, departments, forms, or reports sought. A requestor might not know how to clearly state his/her request. If a request is unclear or overly broad, the General Manager has a duty to make a reasonable effort to assist the requestor with clarifying or narrowing the PRA request. To the extent reasonable, the General Manager should also describe the physical location of the potentially responsive records and whether the records are stored electronically as well. The General Manager should also provide suggestions for overcoming any practical basis for denying access to the records.
- When the General Manager receives a PRA request from a requestor, the General Manager shall attempt to ensure that the PRA request includes:
- The requestor’s name and contact information for purposes of replying to the request;
- Whether the PRA request is for inspection of records or copying of records;
- If the requestor wants copies, the requestor should indicate whether he/she wants the responsive records in electronic format or as hard copies, understanding that hard copies will incur charges per the District’s fee schedule;
- As detailed of a description of the records requested as practicable; and
- A date range for the requested records.
- Responding to a Request
- The District has 10 days to respond to a PRA request with the District’s determination of what documents exist, and what documents are exempt from disclosure, if any. If a PRA request is received after business hours or on a weekend or holiday, then the next business day will be considered the date of receipt. If the tenth day falls on a weekend or holiday, then the next business day is considered the deadline for responding to the PRA request.
- The PRA specifies four “unusual circumstances” under which the District may extend the 10-day response period by an additional 14 days:
- The District needs to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other establishments;
- The District needs to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records demanded in the requestor’s PRA request;
- The District needs to consult with another agency that has a substantial interest in the request (such as a State agency), or among multiple departments with a substantial interest in the request; or
- In the case of electronic records, the District needs to compile data, write programming language or a computer program, or construct a computer report to extract data.
- If the District is having difficulty responding to a PRA request within the 10-day response period, and the circumstances do not justify a 14-day extension on the response period, the District may obtain an extension if the requester agrees. Contact the requestor to ask for an extension. If the requestor agrees, try to obtain the consent in writing.
- Providing Responsive Documents
- If a PRA request asks for the inspection of public records, then within the first 10 days of receiving the PRA request (or more days if an extension applies), the General Manager shall respond to the PRA request and notify the requestor whether responsive records exist and when those responsive records will be available for inspection. The General Manager’s response shall also invite the requestor to contact the General Manager to set an appointment for inspecting the responsive records during the District’s regular business hours. In the alternative, the General Manager may post the responsive records on the District’s website and direct the requestor to that website for inspection. The District does not have to allow the inspection of public records to occur within a certain time period, but the District may not unreasonably delay or obstruct the requestor’s opportunity to inspect the records.
- Although the General Manager must respond to a PRA request within 10 days of receipt (or more days if an extension applies), the General Manager is not required under the PRA to provide the responsive public records along with that 10-day response (or post-extension response). When the General Manager provides the responsive records, the General Manager shall explain any redacted or withheld records and cite the applicable Government Code Sections.
- If any provision of this Policy conflicts with current State or federal law, the law shall take precedence.
[End of Policy]