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Erie County Open Records Policy

This policy is adopted by Erie County (County) pursuant to the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law, Act of February 14, 2008, P.L._____, 65 P.S. Section 67.101, et seq. (Act No. 2008-3) (the Act). Section 504 of the Act permits an "agency", such as County, to promulgate regulations and policies necessary for the agency to implement the provisions of the Act. This policy is adopted pursuant to this permission. Both the Act and this policy go into effect on January 1, 2009.

  1. OPEN RECORDS OFFICER AND DEPUTIES-County designates the County Solicitor to act as Open Records Officer (Officer) pursuant to Section 502 of the Act. Further, the following are designated as Deputy Open Records Officers (Deputy) with regard to certain areas of County government:
    1. Administration, with the exception of the Office of Children and Youth-the County Solicitor
    2. County Council-the County Clerk
    3. Controller-the County Controller or his or her designee
    4. Sheriff-the Solicitor for the Sheriff
    5. Clerk of Records-the Clerk of Records or his or her designee.
    6. District Attorney-the District Attorney or his or her designee
    7. The Courts-the Records Manager designated by the President Judge
    8. Coroner-the Solicitor for the Coroner
    9. Office of Children and Youth-its chief legal counsel.
  2. REQUESTS-requests under the Act for records shall be handled as follows:
    1. Any County employee who receives a request for records under the Act shall immediately (no later than within the same working day) deliver such request to the Officer or appropriate Deputy designated in paragraph 1 above.
    2. Requests shall be made using the form developed by the Office of Open Records as provided for in Section 505 (a) of the Act. Such request may be submitted in person, by mail, by e-mail or by fax. County may, but need not, consider requests made in any other manner.
    3. The Officer or Deputy receiving the request shall note the date of receipt on the written request, compute the day on which the five-day period under Section 901 of the Act will expire and make a notation of that date on the written request. The Officer or Deputy shall also maintain an electronic or paper copy of a written request, including all documents submitted with the request until the request has been fulfilled. If the request is denied, the written request shall be maintained for 30 days or, if an appeal is filed, until a final determination is issued under Section 1101 (b) of the Act or the appeal is deemed denied. The Officer or Deputy shall maintain a file concerning each request received for a period of one year or until all appeals concerning the request have been resolved, whichever is later.
    4. The Officer or Deputy shall respond to the request within 5 business days of its receipt by him or her, all as required by Section 901 of the Act. During that time the Officer or Deputy shall make a good faith effort to determine if access to the requested records must be provided under the Act. Within the five day period the Officer or Deputy shall either (1) grant the request and permit access to the requested documents, (2) deny the request in the manner provided for in Section 903 of the Act including the procedure to appeal the denial, or (3) notify the requester in writing that additional time up to 30 days is required to respond to the request if any of the circumstances provided for in Section 902 (a) of the Act apply.
    5. The following information shall be posted in a place conspicuous to the public in each County owned or operated facility and on the County's web-site;
      1. the name and contact information for the Officer and Deputies identified in paragraph 1 above;
      2. contact information for the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records;
      3. the form which may be used to file a request; and
      4. this Open Records Policy.
    6. Requests to the Courts shall be made to the Records Manager designated by the President Judge and shall be handled pursuant to Rules of Judicial Administration, Rule 509.
  3. FEES-the following fees will be charged by County for providing records pursuant to the Act and this Policy:
    1. Postage-the actual cost of mailing.
    2. Fees for duplication by photocopying, printing from electronic media or microfilm, copying onto electronic media, transmission by facsimile or other electronic means and other means of duplication shall be within the range of $.10 to $.25 as established from time to time by the Administration of County. A photocopy is either a single sided copy or one side of a double-sided black-and-white copy of a standard 8.5 x 11 inch page.
    3. Complex and extensive data sheets-as provided for in Section 1307 (b) (4) of the Act.
    4. Certification-if certification of a record is requested County will charge $1.00 per record for this service.
    5. Enhanced electronic access-from time to time the Administration of County shall establish reasonable fees for this pursuant to Section1307 (e) of the Act.
    6. Prior to granting a request under the Act, County may require a requester to prepay an estimate of fees if the fees required to fulfill the request are expected to exceed $100.
  4. CREATION OF RECORD-When responding to a request for access, County shall not be required to create a record which does not then exist or to compile, maintain, format or organize a record in a manner in which County does not then currently compile, maintain, format or organize the record.
  5. REDACTION-Redaction of records shall be permitted if the circumstances described in Section 706 of the Act arise.
  6. ACCESS-a record being provided to a requester shall be provided in the medium requested if it exists in that medium; otherwise it shall be provided in the medium in which it exists. In addition, County may respond to a request by notifying requester that the record is available through publicly accessible electronic means or that County will provide access to inspect the record electronically. If the requester is unable or unwilling to access the record electronically, the requester may, within 30 days following receipt of the County's notification, submit a written request to County to have the record converted to paper. County shall then provide access to the record in printed form within 5 days of receipt of the written request for conversion to paper.
  7. AUDIT-the Officer shall be required to periodically (not less than once per year) audit the performance of the Deputies in complying with the requirements of this policy.
  8. EFFECTIVE DATE-this policy becomes effective January 1, 2009.

Erie County Courthouse - 140 West Sixth Street, Erie, PA 16501 - (814) 451-6000 - TDD Phone: (814) 451-6237 - Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm
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