Although individual City departments shall be required to expeditiously forward requests inadvertently sent to them instead of directly to the ORO, the time period for the City's response will begin to run as of the documented receipt of the request by the ORO. Requests received after 4:30 p.m. shall be deemed to be received on the next business day.
Upon receipt of a request by the Open Records Officer, the City will make a good faith effort to determine whether the record requested is a public record, and whether the City has custody of the record. The City will respond as rapidly as possible under the circumstances existing at the time of the request. However, the City will respond within five business days of the initial request. A "business day" shall be any weekday (Monday through Friday) except for official holiday closings or closings due to weather or natural disasters or due to the request of authorized public safety officials. Failure to respond within five business days will constitute a deemed denial of the request.
The RTKL does not require that the requester receive the City's response on the fifth business day. The City meets is obligations by mailing the response on the fifth business day.
The City will respond to each request in one of three ways:
- The City will grant the request in its entirety; or
- The City will deny the request; or
- The City will partially grant and partially deny the request.
There are circumstances set forth in the RTLK under which the City can take additional time to process a right to know request. The City is required to notify the requester in the "five day" letter which of these circumstances apply:
- The record must be redacted;
- The record must be retrieved from a remote location;
- A timely response is not possible due to bona fide and specified staffing limitations;
- A legal review is necessary to determine whether the record is a public record;
- The requester has not complied with the City's policies regarding access to records;
- The requester refuses to pay applicable fees;
- The extent or nature of the request precludes a response within the required time period.
If the City requires additional time to process a right to know request, it must nevertheless make its initial response within the five business day period. The letter will indicate which of the reasons justify the additional time, and will project a target date by which the records will be made available. The City cannot take more than thirty additional days without the written consent of the Requester. If such permission is not granted and the City takes more than thirty days from the expiration of the five business day period, the request will be deemed denied on the thirty-first day.
If the City denies a request for information (in whole or in part), it will issue a denial letter which will include:
- A description of the record being requested;
- The specific reasons for the denial, including a citation of supporting legal authority;
- The name, contact information, and signature of the Open Records Officer;
- The date of the request; and
- The procedure to appeal the denial of the request.