A special service charge is essentially a labor fee that may be charged when a request is voluminous, requiring extensive time and effort, or when the request required extensive use of technology. endstream endobj 940 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream When redactions are made to a record, the custodian can use either the request form to explain why parts of a record are redacted, or use a separate document, depending on the circumstances, and must also refer to the OPRA exception which allows the redaction. Remember, valid OPRA requests must reference OPRA in the request. Click here to see an invalid non-form OPRA request. • A request on official OPRA request form (either agency’s form or GRC’s Model Request Form). G�5M�*+>~���׮�xDN��Cﰏ����> The custodian must have evidence that the requestor is in possession of the records at the time of the OPRA request. anonymous written request when such request is made in person, by mail, by fax, or by email. Labor for programming, clerical and supervisory assistance that may be required. Specifically, the requestor attached a copy of the requested record to his OPRA request, thus proving that he was already in possession of said record at the time of his request. The GRC is releasing the following Special Statement 2020-01 regarding responses time frames during a State of Emergency In some cases, it may be that a request was vaguely worded, or very open ended, and a resolution could be a simple as resubmitting the request in clearer language. Sample: opra+request-1966-8f40bc9f @requests.opramachine.com. The County of Morris will make any effort possible to respond in a timely manner during this crisis. Custodians should respond in writing to your OPRA request  as soon as possible but not later than seven (7) business days after the request is received, provided that the record is currently available and not in storage or archived. Custodians do not decide when requestor must use OPRA and cannot force requestors to submit an OPRA request. endstream endobj 935 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream For more information about the rules pertaining to the GRC's complaint process, see the GRC's promulgated regulations (N.J.A.C. Please see NJ Bill A-3849/S-2302. • Written request (letter, fax, e-mail) that clearly references OPRA. *This example uses the GRC's Model Request Form which is available for download here. Under OPRA, a government record that is otherwise publicly accessible may contain non-disclosable information that should be redacted. The GRC does not have jurisdiction over the Judicial or Legislative Branches of State Government or any agency, officer, or employee of those branches. Step 7:  Following the hearing, the Council will, by a majority vote of its members, render a decision as to whether the government record in question, or a portion of it, must be made available for public access to the requestor. If represented by counsel, a requestor who prevails in any proceeding shall be entitled to a reasonable attorney's fee. t?R�&�Ԛ� �Ր3���k]³� y^a\(�,D*I�0�QYV�c��S"MT�rdM��7$[>6n��㼔�l�����V�OI^%������o�(��O��/�u���<2MQW�Ҍ�e:`=^��9W�hRquI)��F�j�Da�ﳰ�����'¦p��;?���\o-�Y ��!�B7��UCHDƎ���dMZ�L��f��~��:@��AN���m���g]�����x|�jR��P3��,�ٱta��M�I)V��ksj���!؜ da�y��ʵ�*0�L����!Gp���ijx�b���5��&g���b ��8����������U�R�bC:hv"�� �'VzS�ǂq�to�(��ӯ�*a�"�I�Y���P����l ���x�:Aj�M?��G�H�`�1fs5�J� �ɔ��C��Z z�͹6����ӎ>�q�G'��8�� ��¢�yX|�,��rGk[��z,;��0d;R�L����P-���M��-6�dw0;�ETv�~�������-�k ***Special Statement*** The GRC lacks authority over records retention. Orders directing a custodian to disclose records to requestors only occur after the GRC is able to conduct a full analysis of the request and it is determined that the Custodian unlawfully denied access. ��ǡ�������*���o���8� o<0�-� endstream endobj 942 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream OPRA specifically defines a government record as: "... any paper, written or printed book, document, drawing, map, plan, photograph, microfilm, data processed or image processed document, information stored or maintained electronically or by sound-recording or in a similar device, or any copy thereof, that has been made, maintained or kept on file ... or that has been received in the course of his or its official business ..." (Emphasis added.) Although OPRA specifically references "citizens of this State," the Attorney General's Office advises that OPRA does not prohibit access to residents of other states. 1. 2 hours a day for 3 days a week, minimum, unless the agency's regularly scheduled business hours are less. At the request of the Government Records Council, the public agency must provide a Statement of Information setting forth the facts regarding the request for access to the government records, and describing the specifics of the custodian's denial to those records. A custodian must grant access to a government record by the method of delivery requested by the requestor (such as regular mail, fax, or e-mail). If there are any fees associated with a request, the records custodian will contact the requestor regarding the specific cost and instructions on how to remit payment. No. The Government Records Council (GRC) operates a toll-free inquiry hotline to provide guidance to requestors of government records and records custodians regarding the Open Public Records Act (OPRA). The Government Records Council has the statutory responsibility to: What is the scope of the GRC's authority? The Custodian must scan a paper document to convert it to electronic format. If you do not find the answer to your question on this page please contact the GRC directly and a representative will be happy to assist you. A request for access to a government record must be in writing and hand-delivered, mailed, transmitted electronically, or otherwise conveyed to the appropriate custodian. H���A!6iP�=��j ����7e�������� Available for PC, iOS and Android. Click here to see a non-form OPRA request. What is the Open Public Records Act (OPRA)? �g�z9%R��(]"� �8�~:�ie�МrF� The Courts have adopted their own records disclosure policies and procedures. �.޻ F�j)��� _>�j�Vr�P����1A�@�G��\k�|LEV+j��N�i���-^������74�%Rb�f'e��4����_P�ک�A�}���2m=��>,��s�-7��-R��m�� The vendor charges the agency $5.00 for the service. Words, sentences, paragraphs, or whole pages may be subject to redaction. See here. Please acknowledge receipt of this message. ���ڊ�lA�c�e:T������/�f�� Seeing this link on any public agency web site brings up information about the agency's public record access information. If a requestor seeks government records under the common law, please consider the following: A public record under the common law is one required by law to be kept, or necessary to be kept in the discharge of a duty imposed by law, or directed by law to serve as a memorial and evidence of something written, said, or done, or a written memorial made by a public officer authorized to perform that function, or a writing filed in a public office. Convert the record to the medium requested; or. Be careful about adding exemptions to OPRA request form. A public official, officer, employee, or custodian who knowingly and willfully violates OPRA and is found to have unreasonably denied access under the totality of the circumstances shall be subject to a civil penalty of $1,000 for an initial violation, $2,500 for a second violation, and $5,000 for a third violation that occurs within 10 years of an initial violation. 2008), the Appellate Division held that a complainant could not have been denied access to a requested record if he already had in his possession at the time of the OPRA request the document he sought pursuant to OPRA. endstream endobj 929 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream No. Also, copyright law does not prohibit access to records that are otherwise accessible under OPRA. Every citizen has the right to request public records held by state & local government agencies - including townships, counties, school districts & independent authorities - under the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA). ��������ϵ���цc��?�7�)X� OPRA does not affect a requestor's common law right of access, or right of access via discovery. 47:1A-1.1. The bottom line is that the requestor has a right to know the reason for the redaction, and the custodian has the responsibility to provide an explanation. All other agencies must process OPRA requests during their regular business hours. ", The executive branch of state government and all independent state agencies and authorities. What happens when the Government Records Council starts investigating a complaint? 2. �bf�,��( Z��9�s#�W�3�w�nf�D�4 Note that any challenge to a denial of a request for records pursuant to a discovery request cannot be made to the Government Records Council, as the Government Records Council only has jurisdiction to adjudicate challenges to denials of OPRA requests. Some large state departments have determined that they can be more responsive to requests for access to government records by designating more than one custodian. Also, when the requestor is successful (or partially successful) via a judicial decree, a quasi-judicial determination, or a settlement of the parties that indicates access was improperly denied and the requested records are disclosed. If full pages are to be redacted, the custodian should give the requestor a visible indication that a particular page of that record is being redacted, such as a blank sheet bearing the words "Page Redacted" or a written list of the specific page numbers being withheld. This may include charges incurred by an outside vendor. Open Public Records Request. Step 5: If the Council is able to make a determination about whether a record should be provided based upon the complaint and the custodian's response, the Council will issue a decision in writing and send it to the complainant and the records custodian. Additionally, custodians may require a 50% deposit when requests exceed $25.00. Successful plaintiffs may be entitled to reasonable attorney fees. Direct the requestor to the agency's records custodian. hk�)+���ݻ��v�FK|='h���+>QPe��w���}�w;�WA�@l�c���r������1 ܠ=�X5�k��d�W��� �PA6 Ғ��L���И�~�� ڠ�2��c�=x�l��ZN4�I'���W1X����x,��|����G�~*����D��+����:�^t�P[��7��߂�����7���f�F''Jx?�y��*g�-���s ����������#-E�����x:�4�t�+h::;��F��T6���g;z[����;��`ֹzА�lq���� ��VU����8dY�@�jp>ZE8'�N����J 5:105 (2008)) on our website here. For example, a request for the City of Trenton's 2011 budget should be submitted to the City of Trenton. endstream endobj 939 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream Under OPRA, a "government record" includes printed records, tape recordings, microfilm, electronically stored records (including e-mails and data sets stored in a database), books, maps, photographs, etc. All government records are subject to public access unless they are specifically exempt under OPRA or any other law. Verbal requests are never OPRA requests. Name and Title [of the official with custody of the records]. There are 1,000 pages of responsive records which will take the custodian 2 ½ hours to copy. T��� " 6���t����Q 2 �kz��%�'�wG Yes. Thus, if a requestor seeks access to a microfilm roll from the Department of Treasury, the Department's custodian must charge the fees established in N.J.S.A. The mediator will help the parties to identify issues, will encourage joint problem-solving, and will explore settlement alternatives with the parties. A written request provides a paper trail; in the event of a denial, this written record can be … 22A:4-1a sets forth specific fees for certain records filed with the New Jersey Department of Treasury (and requested from the Department of Treasury). The GRC can also provide guidance regarding the request process and what to expect once an OPRA request is submitted. endstream endobj 931 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream endstream endobj 934 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream *This example demonstrates a valid non-form OPRA request because the request clearly references OPRA. All government records are subject to public access under the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”), unless specifically exempt. Yes. 903 0 obj <> endobj endstream endobj 904 0 obj <>>>/Filter/Standard/Length 128/O(�E\)�b�Z�J\(g�φO��u ֮���O�xc�)/P -1052/R 4/StmF/StdCF/StrF/StdCF/U(��P�ߴ�b �p�D )/V 4>> endobj 905 0 obj <>/Metadata 213 0 R/Outlines 282 0 R/PageLayout/OneColumn/Pages 901 0 R/StructTreeRoot 300 0 R/Type/Catalog>> endobj 906 0 obj <>/ExtGState<>/Font<>/XObject<>>>/Rotate 0/StructParents 0/Tabs/S/Type/Page>> endobj 907 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream The custodian must provide the requestor with the specific legal basis for the denial of access. The Government Records Council can provide guidance regarding the accessibility of government records. So here’s the reason why I am reaching out to you, is that when I filled out the OPRA request, I wrote down exactly what you request above: the tax ledger and open/closed permits. endstream endobj 945 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream endstream endobj 944 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream OPRA provides that the custodian of government records in a municipality is the Municipal Clerk. Example 1: A requestor wants a record sent via e-mail. Last week we discussed Exception 1 to OPRA’s personnel records exemption, which permits you to file an OPRA request for a public employee’s “name, title, position, salary, payroll record, length of service, date of separation and the reason therefor, and the amount and type of any pension received shall be a … I am requesting access to records in possession or control of the [insert government entity] for the purposes of inspection and copying pursuant to the California Public Records Act, California … K�a�N/>�Y���a���V(�U%=b�� What happens if an employee other than the custodian receives my OPRA request? ʏ�;�i^�6����S��O&wzk�j=�: If a custodian seeks clarification of an OPRA request, the response time clock stops until the requestor provides a response to the custodian. To date my initial request has not been fulfilled. �0�\��2X;t���L��>�E���T��^(�h" The Custodian's written response must either grant access, deny access, seek clarification or request an extension of time to fulfill the request. Click here for our contact information. Complainants may challenge a custodian's special service charge by filing a Denial of Access Complaint with the Government Records Council or filing an action in the Superior Court of New Jersey. �w��$A��ڙ�R�兒_ۏ�{8-�U仐��ÏΗ�V���a��fVuTe5_�k�%��|�7�[�n��8����([�^�Le$�{._b� x�'ܯ�s��4�i��4�y�̚��N���B Click here for details on how an agency may calculate its actual costs. The OPRA laws require a response within 7 days of the initial request. Example of a valid request:  "all meeting minutes from 2011.". R����L����rI�yfg�W^۰���{n4� Provide the record in some other meaningful medium (meaningful to the requestor). Can the custodian take more than seven (7) business days to respond to my OPRA request? endstream endobj 920 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream OPRA covers more than just paper records. RE: Public Records Act Request Dear _____,. r�{uϯ�4�$.�DVb�� Day One (1) is the day following the custodian's receipt of the request. Now the town that I am requesting the information is unclear of what the tax ledger is. endstream endobj 915 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream A public member shall not hold any other state or local elected or appointed office or employment while serving as a member of the Council. ), when they are applicable. endstream endobj 930 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream 4��� This principle also applies if pages of information are redacted. As such, a custodian cannot deny access solely because he/she previously provided the records to the requestor. What does this mean? The custodian must notify the requestor in advance of the special service charge. The Custodian may charge her direct hourly rate for the 2 ½ hours required to fulfill request. The Government Records Council does not process OPRA requests for records maintained by other agencies. ����3��VD�)�$; $S3�sL4��2ٰ�u\�Af����7Z �~{2?�LmO���a�n��H�/)^����-+��LV�ӛC��a� ?�9e��W-5E��d�I͹ �R.�Z�^�\p1�ab�� �7��)/4��P�����E�� 6��gft��X��1u��GA/je��|�;S��! endstream endobj 941 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream If a custodian seeks clarification of an OPRA request, the response time clock stops until the requestor provides a response to the custodian. endstream endobj 932 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream The list of frequently asked questions below will help records requestors understand some of the most common issues regarding the Open Public Records Act. For example, N.J.S.A. The most secure digital platform to get legally binding, electronically signed documents in just a few seconds. What can the Government Records Council do for me? Requests must be submitted to the public agency that maintains physical custody of the requested records. Q-���l�:U� �Q��-�{5M�H�����ʹY Fill out, securely sign, print or email your opra request form instantly with SignNow. Additionally, pursuant to Mason v. City of Hoboken and City Clerk of the City of Hoboken, 196 N.J. 51 (2008), a complainant is a "prevailing party" if he/she can demonstrate: If the decision of the public agency to deny access to the requested record is upheld, the public agency is not entitled to an attorney's fee from the requestor under OPRA. The penalty shall be collected and enforced in proceedings in accordance with the Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999. Records requested: Hi , please email me list and map of the off-site conditions if any ,near 10 Chanwood Dr Hampton NJ … ����i�-��dž_���j���' ���v�v� This is a request for public records made under OPRA and the common law right of access. If there is no other fee established by law or regulation, the standard copying fee is $0.05 per page for letter sized printed pages and $0.07 per page for legal sized printed pages. Are there other ways to request access to government records besides OPRA? endstream endobj 918 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream Specifically, said statute provides that "[i]f a roll of microfilm images is requested, the State Treasurer shall collect a fee of $1.00 for each image on the microfilm roll." If a record contains material that must be redacted, such as a social security number, redaction must be accomplished by using a visually obvious method that shows the requestor the specific location of any redacted material in the record. GRC Special Statement - P.L. The GRC can investigate your allegation of a denial of access should you decide to file an official complaint. When should I expect a response to my OPRA request? Requestors must be mindful of how many documents will be responsive to the request and keep the timeframe relatively narrow. There is no statute of limitations for filing a Denial of Access Complaint with the GRC. If the requestor objects to the special charge and refuses to pay it, the custodian may deny the request for access to the record.   The GRC does not have authority over how a custodian uses his/her legal counsel. Step 2: If the Council concludes that the complaint is outside its jurisdiction or that the complaint is frivolous or without factual basis, it will issue a decision in writing to dismiss the complaint. The Legislature finds and declares it to be the public policy of New Jersey that: All records shall be accessible government records shall be readily accessible for inspection, copying, or examination by the citizens of this State, with certain exceptions, for the protection of the public interest, and any limitations on the … Can I request records in a specific medium? Special Statement 2020-01 "׋��b�Y��ŋL֤Hx�#�v��{ ��x�ŋ�S;�)��\��N����4;�"����n�Uö1edï�.PcA oޟw#�Hs�H9;Ƭb�aa-ׅ�.m�G�v�;������i�_&D��w{_�G���ıb��!O8e\$�g��D����[�{z��V�'f��ɓ���g�Y���z���U#� Requestors are not required to send payment with the request. %PDF-1.6 %���� There may be exemptions contained in other State statutes, regulations, case law, etc. Can I request the same records more than once? The following is an example of a special service charge for a voluminous request: Request: Meeting minutes from 2005 to present. The request takes the Custodian 5 minutes to complete. OPRA provides that a person who is denied access to a government record can choose: In Superior Court, a complaint must be filed within 45 days of the denial of access. OPRA- Request for Public Records Form. OPRA places the obligation upon the public agency to tell you why your request is denied so that you are not left guessing. Example: personnel records are exempt, without reference to exceptions named … Is This Non-Form Request Valid? OPRA requires that custodians must ordinarily grant immediate access to budgets, bills, vouchers, contracts (including collective negotiations agreements and individual employment contracts), and public employee salary and overtime information. This sentence means that custodians are to charge OPRA requestors any copy fees that are established by other New Jersey laws or regulations, if said fees exist. Expand the public's right of access to government records; Create an administrative appeals process if access is denied; and, Define what records are and are not "government records. 433 John F. Kennedy Way Willingboro NJ 08046-2119 Phone: 609-877-2900 Fax: 609-835-4645 customersupport@wmua.info. OPRA is a New Jersey statute that governs the public's access to government records in New Jersey. There are 24 specific exemptions contained in OPRA. Is there a fee to convert records to a specific medium? The GRC is releasing the following Special Statement 2020-01 regarding responses time frames during a State of Emergency. Custodians must identify the legal basis for each redaction. @����F�����Z�n���V������ Please acknowledge receipt of this message. 2020, c.10 provides that the statutory deadlines for a public agency to respond to an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request during a state of emergency, public health emergency, or state of local disaster emergency, do not … How many OPRA requests can I make to one agency? All proceedings of the Government Records Council are conducted as expeditiously as possible. endstream endobj 946 0 obj <>stream If you want to request a specific record or you have been denied access to a specific record, the GRC can inform you about any past decisions regarding the same or similar records, if any such cases exist. � �,�/�hQjl����-�3�k�pJ���$J�w��4vK�f������s�~�n�ꅍ �0�1�e T�x�&e��_AA���-圭����KUP�����{��C�C�a��=��6ra���W"�|[�>�A�:�d����&O` �h�9U,��y�֟��\V��m�D�91o�M>�?����C�˜�i��>ެN. Mediation is an informal, non-adversarial process having the objective of helping the parties reach a mutually acceptable, voluntary agreement. OPRA established the Government Records Council (GRC) in the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. Custodians have run into trouble if OPRA provision is not described accurately. Immediate access means at once, without delay. Anyone! Click here for our contact information. When government agencies reply to the request, the site detects the tracking ID. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Government Records Council offers the parties the opportunity to resolve the dispute through mediation before a neutral mediator. On March 20, 2020, Governor Murphy took action modifying the deadlineby which public agency is required to respond to requests for government records during a period of emergency. The records request form includes the name, address, and phone number of the requester and space for a brief description of the record sought. The hearing will be held in conformity with the rules and regulations for hearings by a state agency in contested cases under the Administrative Procedure Act (N.J.S.A. 2020, c.10 and COVID-19 Impacts on OPRA Enacted on March 20, 2020, P.L. No charges apply. +�Ê�"J������]�'�QJ Aǐ��=�� endstream endobj 925 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream How much can the custodian charge me for my OPRA request? endstream endobj 916 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream {G��ѿ�7��%�ų�^�aUOL��|� Click here for a listing of all 24 exemptions in OPRA as well as exemptions contained in Executive Orders. What are the duties of the Government Records Council? Then provide a copy of the blacked-out record to the requestor. Click here to access Records Management Services' website. This is not an OPRA request. Not less than 6 regular business hours over not less than 3 business days per week, or the entity's regularly scheduled business hours, whichever is less. The blacked out area shows where information was redacted, while the double copying ensures that the requestor will not be able to "see-through" to the original, non-accessible text. A records request under OPRA cannot be made verbally. The sample official OPRA records request form below may be downloaded for implementation by records custodians of public agencies. It can be used to help find out what records agencies have available online and through a request form. Some public agencies have created systems that will permit a citizen to fill out an online request form and file it with the custodian over the Internet. If "white-out" correction fluid is used to redact material, some visual symbol should be placed in the space formerly occupied by the redacted material to show the location of redacted material. If you do not find the answer to your question on this page please contact the GRC directly and a representative will be happy to assist you. Maybe. endstream endobj 911 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream w$�g�J����-��zBm ��^��9mo� The charge is $0.50. Willingboro WMUA. As per N.J.S.A. There are 24 specific exemptions contained in OPRA. Please note that requests for discovery do not affect a requestor's right to request the same records under OPRA. Click here to download PDF file. ��r�+�zp�`�#�r�G�Xvm��2sFmY�N Click here to view an OPRA request on an official OPRA request form. The Custodian does not have the capability to scan large maps and must use a third party vendor. endstream endobj 908 0 obj <>/Subtype/Form/Type/XObject>>stream New Jersey public agencies are urged to use this symbol to bring web users to their OPRA information. The length of the extension must be reasonable under the circumstances.
2020 opra request example