5 CFR 1631.10 - Appeals to the Executive Director from initial denials.

§ 1631.10 Appeals to the Executive Director from initial denials.

(a) A requestor may appeal any adverse determinations to the Executive Director. The appeal must be made in writing and for it to be considered timely it must be postmarked, or in the case of electronic submissions, transmitted, within 90 calendar days of receipt of the denial or partial denial. The appeal should be addressed to the Executive Director, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, 77 K Street NE., Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20002, and should be clearly labeled as a “Freedom of Information Act Appeal.”

(b)

(1) The Executive Director will act upon the appeal of a denial of a request for expedited processing within 5 work days of its receipt.

(2) The Executive Director will act upon the appeal of a denial of a request for records within 20 work days of its receipt.

(c) The Executive Director will decide the appeal in writing and mail the decision to the requester.

(d) If the appeal concerns an expedited processing request and the decision is in favor of the person making the request, the Executive Director will order that the request be processed on an expedited basis. If the decision concerning a request for records is in favor of the requester, the Executive Director will order that the subject records be promptly made available to the person making the request.

(e) If the appeal of a request for expedited processing of records is denied, in whole or in part, the Executive Director's decision will set forth the basis for the decision. If the appeal of a request for records is denied, in whole or in part, the Executive Director's decision will set forth the exemption relied on and a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the records withheld and the reasons for asserting it, if different from the reasons described by the FOIA Officer under § 1631.9. The denial of a request for records will state that the person making the request may, if dissatisfied with the decision on appeal, file a civil action in Federal court. (A Federal court does not have jurisdiction to review a denial of a request for expedited processing after the Board has provided a complete response to the request.) The denial will also inform the requester of the mediation services offered by the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) of the National Archives and Records Administration as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. If the FOIA Officer's decision is remanded or modified on appeal, the requestor will be notified of that determination in writing.

(f) No personal appearance, oral argument, or hearing will ordinarily be permitted in connection with an appeal of a request for expedited processing or an appeal for records.

(g) On appeal of a request concerning records, the Executive Director may reduce any fees previously assessed.

(h) Seeking mediation and dispute resolution services through OGIS is a voluntary process. If the requestor chooses to use these services, the Board will work with OGIS to resolve disputes between requestors and the Board as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation.

(i) Before seeking review by a court of the FOIA Officer's adverse determination, a requestor generally must first submit a timely administrative appeal to the Executive Director.

[ 79 FR 68094, Nov. 14, 2014, as amended at 82 FR 24827, May 31, 2017]

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