Q: How are the five business days calculated when responding?
A: RCW 42.56.520 provides that a response to a request for public records must be made within five business days. The questions is whether the day of the request is received counts as one of the five days. The day the request is received does not count as one of the five days. As support, RCW 1.12.040 provides: “The time within which an act is to be done shall be computer by excluding the first day, and including the last, unless the last day is a holiday, Saturday, or Sunday, and then it is also excluded.”
Q: What public records are exempt from disclosure?
A: In general, public records that are exempt from general public disclosure are those in categories listed in RCW 42.56.230-280. Reference must be made to this statute to determine on a case-by-case basis whether a particular records is exempt. When a City denies a request for disclosure of a public record, it must identify the specific statutory exemption upon which the denial is based and provide a brief explanation of how that exemption applies. Please note: Certain statutes outside of the public records law also prohibit disclosure of particular records.
Q: Are cities required to create a document when responding to a specific request for public disclosure?
A: No. Under the Federal Freedom of Information Act, an agency is not required to create a record which is otherwise non-existent.
Q: Does the City charge for inspection of records?
A: No—the City cannot charge from someone to “view” records—the City’s fee schedule shows permissible charges.