City of Snoqualmie
For immediate release: July 29, 2019
City Council Approves Rules Regarding Public Records Requests
Snoqualmie, WA – To prevent excessive interference with essential functions of the City, and to allow staff members to perform their other assigned duties to maintain high quality services to the community, the Snoqualmie City Council has adopted Resolution No. 1501 with rules pertaining to requests for public records as allowed by the Revised Code of Washington Chapter 42.56 regarding Public Records.
The resolution includes details as to the amount of time City staff will spend on public records requests and varied fees.
The City of Snoqualmie has experienced a significant increase in the volume and complexity of public records requests over the past two years. In 2018, 144 requests for public records were submitted and as of this date in 2019, there have been 62 requests. In a typical year, there are less than 50 requests.
The increased number are from a small number of people making multiple requests that are time-intensive for City staff.
The City of Snoqualmie fully supports the Washington Public Records Act and fulfills all public records requests as quickly as possible. Gathering the records often requires time by staff across all City departments and is interfering with essential functions and services at taxpayer expense.
“Essential City functions” are determined by state law and the City Council. Examples of functions being impacted are providing public safety, dependable infrastructure, environmental protection, human services, parks maintenance, and administrative systems necessary to provide effective government services, among others.
As allowed by state law, fees can be charged for paper or electronic copies. The new fees for the City of Snoqualmie are outlined in Resolution No. 1501. There is no cost for locating records, inspecting records in person, or accessing records routinely made available in the City website’s Document Center.
Records not readily available on the website can be requested online, in person at Snoqualmie City Hall, or by mail to City of Snoqualmie, Attention Public Records Officer, 38624 SE River St, Snoqualmie, WA 98065.
To ensure a reasonable level of effort to devote to responding to requests that is commensurate with available resources and staffing, newly adopted rules include (1) the Public Records Officer will spend a maximum of 16 hours per month responding to public records requests and (2) each department-designated staff member assisting the Public Records Officer will spend a maximum of eight hours per month. Across the City’s 11 departments, that brings the total time spent by City staff to a maximum of 104 hours.
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Joan Pliego, City of Snoqualmiejpliego@ci.snoqualmie.wa.us www.cityofsnoqualmie.org