Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.
Purpose: Rules are being changed to comply with changes to public records laws, changes in the Environmental Policy Act and to recognize changes in the state auditor's office organizational structure for processing appeals by local governments that wish to appeal their audit costs.
Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Repealing chapter 48-12 WAC, Access to public records and chapter 48-20 WAC, Local audit costs appeal; and amending WAC 48-16-010 Agency activities exempt.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 42.56.070, 43.21C.120, and 43.09.281.
Adopted under notice filed as WSR 10-17-018 on August 6, 2010.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 2, Amended 1, Repealed 2.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 2, Amended 1, Repealed 2.
Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: October 12, 2010.
Jan M. Jutte
The following chapter of the Washington Administrative Code is repealed:
|WAC 48-12-030||Description of central and field organization of office of state auditor.|
|WAC 48-12-040||Operations and procedures.|
|WAC 48-12-050||Public records available.|
|WAC 48-12-060||Public records officer.|
|WAC 48-12-070||Office hours.|
|WAC 48-12-080||Requests for public records.|
|WAC 48-12-110||Review of denials of public records requests.|
|WAC 48-12-120||Protection of public records.|
|WAC 48-12-130||Records index.|
|WAC 48-12-140||Communication with agency.|
|WAC 48-12-150||Adoption of form.|
|WAC 48-12-990||Appendix No. 1 -- Form -- Request for public record.|
ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS
(2) The purpose of these rules is to establish the procedures the state auditor's office will follow in order to provide full access to public records. These rules provide information to persons wishing to request access to public records of the state auditor's office and establish processes for both requestors and state auditor's office staff that are designed to best assist members of the public in obtaining such access.
(3) The purpose of the act is to provide the public full access to information concerning the conduct of government, mindful of individuals' privacy rights and the desirability of the efficient administration of government. The act and these rules will be interpreted in favor of disclosure. In carrying out its responsibilities under the act, the state auditor's office will be guided by the provisions of the act describing its purposes and interpretation.
(2) Any person wishing to request access to public records of the state auditor's office, or seeking assistance in making such a request should contact the public records officer of the state auditor's office:
Public Records Officer
State Auditor's Office
P.O. Box 40031
Olympia, WA 98504
Information and public records are also available at the state auditor's office web site at http://www.sao.wa.gov. Requestors are encouraged to view the information and documents available on the web site prior to contacting the records officer.
(3) The public records officer will oversee compliance with the act but another state auditor's office staff member may process the request. The public records officer or designee will provide fullest assistance to requestors, pursuant to this chapter, and prevent fulfilling public records requests from causing excessive interference with essential functions of the state auditor's office.
(2) Records index and records available on-line. An index of public records is available for use by members of the public. The index may be accessed on-line at http://www.sao.wa.gov. A variety of records is also available on the state auditor's office web site. Requestors are encouraged to view the documents available on the web site prior to submitting a records request.
(3) Making a request for public records.
(a) Any person wishing to inspect or obtain copies of public records of the state auditor's office should make the request in writing by letter, fax, or e-mail addressed to the public records officer or using the office's web site form located at: http://www.sao.wa.gov. Records requests should include the following information:
• Name of requestor;
• Address of requestor;
• Other contact information, including telephone number and e-mail address;
• Identification of the public records adequate for the public records officer or designee to locate the records; and
• The date and time of day of the request.
(b) If the requestor wishes to retain photocopies or electronic versions of nonelectronic records instead of simply inspecting them, he or she should so indicate and make arrangements to pay for copies of the records. A deposit may be required prior to the office's collection of the records requested. Pursuant to WAC 48-13-070, photocopies and scanned copies will be provided at ten cents per page.
(c) The public records officer or designee may accept requests for public records that contain the above information by telephone or in person. If the public records officer or designee accepts such a request, he or she will confirm receipt of the information and the substance of the request in writing.
(2) Acknowledging receipt of request. Within five business days of receipt of the request, the public records officer will do one or more of the following:
(a) Make the records available for inspection or copying; or
(b) If copies or scanned documents are requested and terms of payment are met, send the copies to the requestor;
(c) Provide a reasonable estimate of when records will be available; or
(d) If the request is unclear or does not sufficiently identify the requested records, request clarification from the requestor. Such clarification may be requested and provided by telephone. The public records officer or designee may revise the estimate of when records will be available; or
(e) Deny the request.
(3) Failure to respond. If the state auditor's office does not respond in writing within five business days of receipt of the request for disclosure, the requestor should consider contacting the public records officer to determine the reason for the failure to respond.
(4) Protecting rights of others. In the event that the requested records contain information that may affect rights of others and may be exempt from disclosure, the public records officer may, prior to providing the records, give notice to such others whose rights may be affected by the disclosure. Such notice should be given so as to make it possible for those other persons to contact the requestor and ask him or her to revise the request, or, if necessary, seek an order from a court to prevent or limit the disclosure. The notice to the affected persons will include a copy of the request.
(5) Records exempt from disclosure. Some records are exempt from disclosure, in whole or in part. If the state auditor's office believes that a record is exempt from disclosure and should be withheld, the public records officer will state the specific exemption and provide a brief explanation of why the record or a portion of the record is being withheld. If only a portion of a record is exempt from disclosure, but the remainder is not exempt, the public records officer will redact the exempt portions, provide the nonexempt portions, and indicate to the requestor why portions of the record are being redacted.
(6) Inspection of records.
(a) Consistent with other demands, the state auditor's office shall promptly provide space to inspect public records. No member of the public may remove a document from the viewing area or disassemble or alter any document. The requestor shall indicate which documents he or she wishes the agency to copy.
(b) The requestor must claim or review the assembled records within thirty days of the state auditor's office notification to him or her that the records are available for inspection. The agency will notify the requestor in writing of this requirement and inform the requestor that he or she should contact the agency to make arrangements to claim or review the records. If the requestor or a representative of the requestor fails to claim or review the records within the thirty-day period or make other arrangements, the state auditor's office may close the request and refile the assembled records. Other public records requests can be processed ahead of a subsequent request by the same person for the same or almost identical records, which can be processed as a new request.
(7) Providing copies of records. After inspection is complete, the public records officer or designee shall make the requested copies or arrange for copying.
(8) Providing records in installments. When the request is for a large number of records, the public records officer or designee will provide access for inspection and copying in installments, if he or she reasonably determines that it would be practical to provide the records in that way. If, within thirty days, the requestor fails to inspect the entire set of records or one or more of the installments, the public records officer or designee may stop searching for the remaining records and close the request.
(9) Completion of inspection. When the inspection of the requested records is complete and all requested copies are provided, the public records officer or designee will indicate that the state auditor's office has completed a diligent search for the requested records and made any located nonexempt records available for inspection.
(10) Closing withdrawn or abandoned request. When the requestor either withdraws the request or fails to fulfill his or her obligations to inspect the records or pay the deposit or final payment for the requested copies, the public records officer will close the request and indicate to the requestor that the state auditor's office has closed the request.
(11) Later discovered documents. If, after the state auditor's office has informed the requestor that it has provided all available records, the state auditor's office becomes aware of additional responsive documents existing at the time of the request, it will promptly inform the requestor of the additional documents and provide them on an expedited basis.
(12) Detailed policy can be found on office web site at http://www.sao.wa.gov.
(2) Providing electronic records. When a requestor requests records in an electronic format, the public records officer will provide the nonexempt records or portions of such records that are reasonably locatable in an electronic format that is used by the agency and is generally commercially available, or in a format that is reasonably translatable from the format in which the agency keeps the record.
RCW 42.40.030, state employee whistleblower protection.
RCW 42.41.030, local government whistleblower protection.
RCW 43.09.186, toll-free efficiency hotline.
(2) The state auditor's office is prohibited by statute from disclosing lists of individuals for commercial purposes.
Before beginning to make the copies, the public records officer or designee may require a deposit of up to ten percent of the estimated costs of copying all the records selected by the requestor. The public records officer or designee may also require the payment of the remainder of the copying costs before providing all the records, or the payment of the costs of copying an installment before providing that installment. The state auditor's office will not charge sales tax when it makes copies of public records.
(2) Costs for electronic records. The cost of electronic copies of records shall be free for information on a CD-ROM when the information already exists in electronic format and it only has to be copied to a CD. The cost of scanning existing office paper or other nonelectronic records is ten cents per page when the page count exceeds one hundred pages. There will be no charge for e-mailing electronic records to a requestor, unless another cost applies such as a scanning fee.
(3) Costs of mailing. The state auditor's office may also charge actual costs of mailing, including the cost of the shipping container for requests exceeding one hundred pages.
(4) Payment. Payment may be made by cash, check, or money order to the state auditor's office.
(2) Consideration of petition for review. The public records officer shall promptly provide the petition and any other relevant information to the director of legal affairs. The petition will be affirmed or reversed within five business days following the state auditor's office receipt of the petition, or within such other time as the state auditor's office and the requestor mutually agree.
(3) Review by the attorney general's office. Pursuant to RCW 42.56.530, if the state auditor's office denies a requestor access to public records because it claims the record is exempt in whole or in part from disclosure, the requestor may request the attorney general's office to review the matter. The attorney general has adopted rules on such requests in WAC 44-06-160.
(4) Judicial review. Any person may obtain court review of denials of public records requests pursuant to RCW 42.56.550 at the conclusion of two business days after the initial denial regardless of any internal administrative appeal.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 76-3, filed 10/1/76)
WAC 48-16-010 Agency activities exempt. The ((
activities of the)) state auditor's office (( as they existed
on December 12, 1975, have been exempted by the council on
environmental policy in WAC 197-10-175 (12)(b). All
authorized activities of the state auditor's office have been
reviewed and found to fall within the exempted category)) has
reviewed its authorized activities and found them all to be
exempt pursuant to TITLE 197 WAC. This (( regulation)) section
is adopted (( in conformance)) for compliance with (( WAC 197-10-800(4))) the State Environmental Policy Act, chapter 43.21C RCW.
[Order 76-3, § 48-16-010, filed 10/1/76.]
The following chapter of the Washington Administrative Code is repealed:
|WAC 48-20-020||Notification to chief examiner.|
|WAC 48-20-030||Response of chief examiner.|
|WAC 48-20-040||Appeal to internal appeals board.|
|WAC 48-20-050||Appeal to external appeals board.|
|WAC 48-20-060||External appeals board -- Membership.|
|WAC 48-20-070||External appeals board review.|
|WAC 48-20-080||Review and final decision by state auditor.|
|WAC 48-20-090||Failure to follow procedure -- Waiver.|
|WAC 48-20-100||Appeal board administrative costs.|
LOCAL AUDIT COSTS APPEAL
"Local government association" means any generally recognized association or organization whose membership consists exclusively or principally of local government units or their officers.
"Officers of a local government association" includes any person serving as an elected officer of a local government association or any person employed by a local government association as its executive director or any person with duties equivalent to those of an executive director.
"Writing" means handwriting, typewriting, printing, and every other means of commonly understood written recording, including letters, facsimiles or electronic mail.