Typical PRA Request Reply

Posted September 29th, 2007 by Joe Kaiser

This acknowledges receipt of your public records requested dated September 25, 2007 and received by me on September 27, 2007.

Dear Rob,

Thought you’d like to see what happens when you make a request for public records in Yakima County.

I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with it. Just wanting to make sure it’s appropriate and aligns with the spirit of the PRA.

Seems about right to me, but as a non-lawyer, I may be wrong.


September 28, 2007

Joseph Kaiser
E-mail Address: joekaiser@spamarrest.com

Re: Public Disclosure Request

Mr. Kaiser:

This acknowledges receipt of your public records requested dated September 25, 2007 and received by me on September 27, 2007.

We estimate that our response, together with the public documents we have that are responsive to your request, will be sent to you on or before October 12, 2007. If we are able to comply sooner, we will. In the unlikely event we determine it will take us longer than that date to comply, or if we require clarification of your request, we will notify you promptly. If appropriate, we will make records available to you on a partial or installment basis. In addition, if we determine that any requested records are wholly or partially exempt from public disclosure, we will notify you of the legal basis for the claim of exemption.

Please note the following concerning your request:

First, a request under the Public Records Act, chapter 42.56 RCW, must be for “identifiable public records.” The law requires a requester to request an identifiable record or class of records before an agency may respond to it. RCW 42.56.080, 42.56.550(1). Please be aware that the law does not require us to: (a) answer questions or provide information, as opposed to provide identifiable public records; or (b) create public records that do not already exist, including prepare customized reports. While we do not have identifiable public records containing information in the form in which you have requested it, we will make every reasonable effort to provide you with identifiable public records reflecting one or more components of that information. (Not every public record containing a given information component will be provided, however. In this regard, duplication of information components generally will not occur.) If this is not what you intend, please provide us with written clarification of your request within five days of the date of this communication.

Secondly, you have requested records “going back no less than ten (10) years.” County treasurer records are subject to retention in accordance with state law and schedules issued by the Secretary of State. While all available non-exempt records will be produced, please be aware that records that are beyond their required retention period may no longer be available for production because they no longer exist. In Yakima County, we retain such records for only 7 years.

Thirdly, because your request may require us to produce a list of individuals within the meaning of RCW 42.56.070(9), we require you to provide us with an affidavit or a declaration that you will not use such a list for commercial purposes. The affirmation to this effect in your request is not sufficient. (For the legal basis for our request, please see AGO 1988 No. 12.) Please complete, execute and return to me at your earliest convenience the attached declaration. Please be sure to include your mailing address on the form so that we will know where to mail the records once they are available. My mailing address as stated at the top of this letter is Yakima County Courthouse, 128 N. 2nd St., Rm. 211, Yakima, WA 98901.

You have a right to inspect public records in our office without charge. You have requested that a copy of the records be mailed to you. We are happy to comply with your request. Please be aware that we impose fees for mailed public records requests as authorized by RCW 42.56.070(7)-(8), RCW 42.56.120 and KCC 3.76.100.

Once we have assembled the records, we will notify you of the cost to mail you photocopies of them. Once we have received confirmed payment of the cost and your signed declaration, we will mail the records to you.

If you have any questions concerning this matter, please feel free to call our office at (509) 574-1200.

Sincerely,

Stormy Miller
Public Records Officer

Enc.

Cc: Ilene Thomson, Treasurer


I did find it interesting that AGO 1988 No. 12 was mentioned.

As you may recall, we identified in my earlier post, “The Public Records Act Fiasco, the appropriate Attorney General Opinion is actually AGO 1980 No. 1 (my request, in terms of any “list of individuals” that may be created, is related only to tax roll information and is therefore exempt from the “commercial use” prohibitions in the act).

Must be a boilerplate kind of thing.

In the arena,

Joe Kaiser


2 Responses to: “Typical PRA Request Reply”

  1. olyguy responds:
    Posted: October 2nd, 2007 at 2:24 am

    Just wondering if you have to pay extra to get a letter from someone named Stormy Miller… what a great name!

  2. Davido responds:
    Posted: October 3rd, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    Joe, Your Sept 28th post mentioned “responses from about half of the counties”. Is this a typical response? Yakima used a lot of words to tell you the law has some loopholes and they intend to use legal loop hole. If, and only if, you can plug every existing loophole, then, well, glad you’re in the arena. If you prepare for a long haul, you might breath some life into the “Spirit” of the PRA in Yakima. Right now, it sounds to me like Stormy Miller and Co. intend to kill the PRA and bury it deep.


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