950 CMR 32.04 - Records Access Officers

(1) Each agency and municipality shall designate one or more employees as records access officer(s).
(2) In a municipality, the municipal clerk, or the clerk's designees, or any designee of a municipality that the chief executive officer of the municipality may appoint, shall serve as records access officers.
(3) The designation of a records access officer shall not be construed to prohibit employees who have been previously authorized by the agency or municipality to make public records or information available to the public from continuing to do so in accordance with 950 CMR 32.00.
(4) Each agency and municipality shall post in a conspicuous location at its offices and on its website, if any, the name, title, business address, business telephone number, and business email address of each records access officer.
(5) A records access officer shall:
(a) coordinate the custodian's response to requests for access to public records and shall facilitate the resolution of such requests by the timely and thorough production of public records;
(b) assist persons seeking public records to identify the records sought;
(c) assist the custodian in preserving public records in accordance with all applicable laws, rules, regulations and retention schedules;
(d) to the extent feasible, provide public records to a requester in electronic format unless the record is not available in electronic form or the requester does not have the ability to receive or access the records in electronic format and if feasible, in the requester's preferred format. In the absence of a preferred format, the records shall be provided in a searchable machine-readable form;

Where the requester is an individual held in custody in any correctional facility, as defined in M.G.L. c. 125, ยง 1(d), the records access officer shall presume that the requester does not have the ability to receive or access records in usable electronic form;

(e) to the extent feasible, furnish the public records by providing reasonable assistance in locating the records on an appropriately indexed and searchable public website;
(f) prepare guidelines of the agency or municipality that enable the person seeking access to public records in the custody of the agency or municipality to make informed requests regarding the availability of such public records electronically or otherwise. The guidelines shall include a list of categories of public records maintained by the agency or municipality and such list shall be updated periodically; each agency or municipality that maintains a website shall post the guidelines on its website; and
(g) a municipal records access officer shall, to the extent feasible, post commonly available public record documents on a website maintained by the municipality. The website copy shall not be deemed the record copy for retention purposes.

Notes

950 CMR 32.04
Amended by Mass Register Issue 1314, eff. 2/29/2016. Amended by Mass Register Issue 1328, eff. 1/1/2017. Amended by Mass Register Issue 1445, eff. 6/11/2021.

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