Access to Public Records
(Approve by Administrative Board: January 15, 2013)
Section 1 Policy
It is the policy of the Portsmouth Water and Fire District (“District”) that all files and records of the District are available for public inspection and copying unless disclosure is prohibited by state or federal law or unless otherwise ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Section 2 Designated Public Records Officer
The Public Records Officer for the District shall be the office manager, or in his/her absence or unavailability, it shall be the General Manager.
Office Manager: Lauren M. Bogues
General Manager: Jessica C. Lynch
Section 3 Procedure for Requesting Public Records
(1) Except for requests for public information available pursuant to R.I.G.L. §42-35-2 or for other documents prepared for or readily available to the public, a request for inspection or copying of public records shall be presented in writing by mail to:
Portsmouth Water and Fire District
P.O. Box 99
Portsmouth, RI 02871-0099
or by hand delivery to the District during the ordinary business hours of the District identified herein. Any such request should reasonably describe the records sought in a way that will permit their identification and location by the District personnel. At the discretion of the General Manager, or his/her designee, the requirements of a formal request may be waived.
(2) If the description of records sought in the request is not sufficient to allow the District to identify and locate the requested records, the District will notify the person requesting such records that additional information is needed.
(3) Within 10 days of a request, the District shall provide the requested information, or notify the requester that the request cannot be honored within the allotted time frame, explaining the need for additional time. In such cases, the District will have up to an additional (20) days to respond.
(4) The District will provide copies of the public records electronically, by facsimile, or by mail in accordance with the requesting person or entity’s choice, unless complying with that preference would be unduly burdensome due to the volume of records requested or the costs that would be incurred. The person requesting delivery shall be responsible for the actual cost of delivery, if any.
Section 4 Hours of Requests/Inspections
All requests, and records made available pursuant to these procedures, may be made and/or inspected, as the case may be, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Section 5 Fees
(1) Official publications which the District prepares in the discharge of its duty to inform the public on matters of public interest shall be furnished free of charge.
(2) The District will supply one copy of any of its Rules and Regulations to an individual requesting same free of charge. Rules and Regulations of the District are also available online from the District’s website.
(3) The District charges a fee for copying and/or search and retrieval of requested documents consistent with applicable state law.
(4) All payments for copies of records shall be paid in advance of delivery, or, at the option of the District, at such later time as the District may specify. All checks shall be payable to the Portsmouth Water and Fire District.
(5) Upon request, the District shall inform the person requesting the records of the approximate cost which will be incurred.
(6) Upon request, the District shall provide the requester with a detailed itemization of the costs charged for search and retrieval.
Section 6 Appeal
(1) If a request for records has been denied, in whole, or in part, the person making the request may appeal the denial, in writing, to the Administrative Board of the Portsmouth Water & Fire District.
(2) The Administrative Board shall make a final decision on whether to make the requested records available for public inspection at their next scheduled meeting.
(3) If the appeal is denied by a final determination of the Administrative Board, the person requesting the records has a right to appeal to the Attorney General or the Superior Court.