PDFWAC 284-03-025

Processing of public records requests—General.

(1) Providing "fullest assistance." The OIC is charged by statute with adopting rules which provide for how it will "provide full access to public records," "protect records from damage or disorganization," "prevent excessive interference with other essential functions of the agency," provide "fullest assistance" to requestors, and provide the "most timely possible action" on public records requests. The public records manager or designee will process requests in the order allowing the most requests to be processed in the most efficient manner.
(2) Acknowledging receipt of request. Within five business days of receipt of the request, the public records manager will do one or more of the following:
(a) Make the records available for inspection or copying;
(b) Provide a reasonable estimate of when records will be available;
(c) 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 manager or designee may revise the estimate of when records will be available; or
(d) Deny the request.
(3) Lack of acknowledgment. If the OIC does not respond in writing within five business days of receipt of the request for disclosure, the requestor should consider contacting the public records manager 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 manager 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) No requirement to create record. The Public Records Act requires the OIC to provide access to existing, identifiable public records in the agency's possession. There is no requirement for the agency to gather and/or organize records to create a public record that does not exist at the time of the request.
(6) Records exempt from disclosure. Some records are exempt from disclosure, in whole or in part. If the OIC believes that a record is exempt from disclosure and should be withheld, the public records manager 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 manager will redact the exempt portions, provide the nonexempt portions, and indicate to the requestor why portions of the record are being redacted.
(7) Providing records in installments. When the request is for a large number of records, the public records manager 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 manager or designee may stop searching for the remaining records and close the request.
(8) Closing withdrawn or abandoned request. When the requestor either withdraws the request or fails to fulfill his or her obligations, the public records manager will close the request and indicate to the requestor that the OIC has closed the request.
(9) Later discovered documents. If, after the OIC has informed the requestor that it has provided all available records, the agency 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.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060 and 42.56.040. WSR 12-03-087 (Matter No. R 2011-15), § 284-03-025, filed 1/15/12, effective 2/15/12. Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060, 48.17.250, 48.17.300, 70.02.050 and 42.17.250. WSR 04-15-157 (Matter No. R 2003-10), § 284-03-025, filed 7/21/04, effective 8/21/04.]