Friday, August 19, 2016

Valid extension reasons must be communicated to requestee within the three-day response period

When a city has a valid reason for needing an extension to provide records, it is appropriate if the city justifies the delay in the initial response within three days.

On June 30, 2016, Attorney General Andy Beshear issued an opinion dealing with the issues of an appeal in In re: Brook Ping/City of Somerset, 16-ORD-131. 

Brook Ping submitted a request to the city of Somerset on May 9 requesting construction permits and approvals for six projects. The city received the request on May 13 and responded May 16. 

The city replied it could not honor his request on the third business day, but it would do so on June 8. Ping appealed because of his immediate need for the records and the concern that the city would use that time to make up the records. 

The city explained to the attorney general's office it was moving multiple departments from separate locations to a newly constructed building. City employees were “essentially working out of boxes.” The items requested by Ping were spread around the city with various departments and likely in boxes ready for transport. 

The city maintained that in light of the circumstances a three-week extension was warranted, but if it could have, the city would have provided the documents initially. 

Beshear found that the city complied with the statute, responding within three days and informing Ping the reason for the delay.                                                                                                                                      
The opinion urged the city, and presumably any other public agency, to provide details when it needs an extension of the three-day deadline. 

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