Both requestors and agencies have responsibilities under the
act. The public records process can function properly only when both parties
perform their respective responsibilities. An agency has a duty to promptly
provide access to all nonex-empt public records. A requestor has a duty to
request identifiable records, inspect the assembled records or pay for the
copies, and be respectful to agency staff.
(1) Providing "fullest assistance." Columbia
Basin College 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 officer
or designee will process requests in the order allowing the most requests to be
processed in the most efficient manner.
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;
(b) If copies are requested and payment of a
deposit for the copies, if any, is made or terms of payment are agreed upon,
send the copies to the requestor;
(c) Provide a reasonable estimate of when
records will be available; or
Request clarification from the requestor by telephone or in writing if the
request is unclear or does not sufficiently identify the requested records. To
the greatest extent possible, the request for clarification will provide a
reasonable estimate of the time required to respond to the request if it is not
clarified. If the requestor fails to clarify the request, and the entire
request is unclear, the public records officer need not respond to it.
Otherwise, the public records officer must respond to those portions of the
request that are clear. Once clarification is received, the public records
officer or desig-nee may revise the estimate of when records will be available;
(e) Deny the request.
(3) Protecting rights of others.
In the event 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 them 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
(4) Records exempt
from disclosure. Some records are exempt from disclosure, in whole or in part.
If the college 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.
Inspection of records.
(a) Consistent with other demands, the
college 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 they wish the
college to copy.
(b) The requestor
must claim or review the assembled records within thirty days of the college's
notification that the records are available for inspection or copying. The
college will notify the requestor in writing of this requirement and inform the
requestor to contact the college to make arrangements to claim or inspect 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 college 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.
Providing copies of records. After inspection is complete, the public records
officer or designee shall make the requested copies or arrange for copying by
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 the public records officer 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.
(8) 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 Columbia
Basin College has completed a diligent search for the requested records and
made any located nonexempt records available for inspection.
(9) Closing withdrawn or abandoned request.
When the requestor either withdraws the request or fails to fulfill the
obligation to inspect the records or pays the deposit or final payment for the
requested copies, the public records officer will close the request and
indicate to the requestor that the college has closed the request.
(10) Later discovered documents. If, after
the college has informed the requestor that it has provided all available
records, the college 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.