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Public Records Request Policy

The California Public Records Act (Government Code Section 6250 et seq.) provides California citizens with important rights to obtain access to records held by public agencies in the State. In recent years the City of Mission Viejo has experienced a substantial growth in the volume of requests for public records and the staff time required to respond to such requests, particularly with respect to requests for documents relevant to disputes between private parties. The purpose of this policy is to clarify for the public, attorneys, insurance adjusters, and private investigators, the process by which the City will respond to requests for records under the Public Record Act.

1. All requests for public records shall be in writing on a form prescribed by the City Clerk, unless the request is to review an agenda or agenda reports of the Council or a City Commission or committee, the Municipal Code, the General Plan or the Uniform Building Codes, which are available at the City Clerk's Office public counter in book or binder form.

2. The City Clerk will respond to all requests as soon as possible, but not later than the ten-day period, or extensions thereof, as provided by Government Code Sections 6256 and 6256.1

a. The City Clerk shall review the request and determine whether the request seeks identifiable records and, if not, the City Clerk shall so advise the person making the request.

b. The City Clerk shall request all City Departments which may have the records being requested to search their files and report back to the City Clerk on whether the Department has the records and, if so, when the records can be made available to the person seeking them.

c. The City Clerk shall respond to the person requesting records by advising him or her in writing of the availability of the documents and whether disclosure of any of the documents is exempt under the provisions of the Public Records Act.

d. If a request is made for copies of the records, the City Clerk shall also advise the person requesting copies of the estimated costs of copying the records requested.

e. The person requesting the copies shall pay the per page charge for copying as set forth by resolution of the City Council for all copies requested. The City Clerk shall not make the requested copies until a deposit in the amount of the estimated costs of copying is received and shall not release the copies until the full cost of copying is paid to the City.

3. In accordance with the Public Records Act, the City will provide only specific identifiable records but will not research City records for particular types of information or analyze information which may be contained within public records.


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