Public Records Request Log - Montana Department of Environmental Quality

Katherine Fink filed this request with the Department of Environmental Quality of Montana.
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Katherine Fink

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to Montana Public Records Act, Article II, § 9, I hereby request the following records:

Log of requests submitted to the Department of Environmental Quality that lists the date of request, the requester's name, the requester's organizational affiliation, a description of the request and whether or not the request was ultimately fulfilled. Ideally I would like this information for the period from 2013 to the present.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I would request your response within ten (10) business days.

Sincerely,

Katherine Fink

From: Muckrock Staff

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following request, copied below. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response.

Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.

From: Department of Environmental Quality

Hello.

Thank you for following up on these earlier requests (one below and one attached) you made. I apologize that you received no responses for these requests. If you could kindly tell me to whom these requests were directed and to what address they were sent, I’d like to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

Regarding these requests, which appear to be almost identical (just a variation in timespan – 2004 to present and 2013 to present), DEQ does not retain such a list as you are requesting and requestors are not required to provide their name or organizational affiliation. Further, requests for records/information require only a one-year retention.

I do have a tracking log that dates from 2015 through mid-2017 (attached). This log was used only by me to track requests that I coordinated and ensure fulfillment of them, so it is not complete and does not provide all the information you’ve requested. The “Title” column usually identifies the requesting organization or requestor, followed by the subject matter. Up until 2015, anyone in DEQ could receive and fulfil a request for records/information and they were not required to log them.

From mid-2017 to present, DEQ has used an online tracking system (JustFOIA) for most of our requests. This is a new system to us and we are still training staff on its usage. The report (attached) I can get you from that system includes:

* Requestor Name (if provided)
* Request Number
* Status
* Date of Request
* Date Complete
What the report does not show is:

* the requestor’s affiliation
* topic of the request
* the varying statuses throughout the life of the request, which includes any time the request was stalled due to the requestor (waiting for the requestor to respond whether to clarification questions or accepting fee estimates, etc.)
Again, this log is not complete, as we are still training staff on using the system. Some of the smaller requests get fulfilled but not logged.

Please let me know if you need anything further regarding this request or have questions about my response. In the future, please feel free to submit requests through our online system, which you can find linked on our records request information page at http://deq.mt.gov/Public/RequestPublicRecords.

Kind regards,

Joyce L. Wittenberg
Records and Information Manager
406-444-6701
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