Media Request Policy (Portsmouth Town Clerk)

Michael Morisy filed this request with the Portsmouth Town Clerk of Portsmouth, RI.


From: Michael Morisy

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act ("APRA"), I hereby request the following records:

* A copy of any media relations policies or guidelines used internally by this department.
* A copy of any press inquiry guidelines or procedures, or other documents used to record how this department handles incoming queries from the press.
* Any memos circulated to staff since Feb. 1, 2015 regarding communications with the press.

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 look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.


Michael Morisy

From: Joanne Mower

Dear Mr. Morisey,
Your request was forwarded to the Town Solicitor and later to the Town Administrator for action. I am sorry that you haven't received a response.
We did have a problem with our internet service over a two week time period as we changed companies and a lot of emails weren't delivered or received.
I will try to provide the answers you requested from information on the Town's website.
At the top right of the front page there is HOW DO I...
From there you can search the Archives/Document Center; Comprehensive Community Plan; Fix it Form; Ordinances; and Staff Directory.
There is also a Search field and if you type in "Access to Public Records" it will take you to these links
(The form is much more presentable on the website.)
Joanne M. Mower
Town Clerk

Townwide Procedure for the Request for Public Records

Procedure<> including list of public records officers
* Town of Portsmouth 2200 East Main Road Portsmouth, Rhode Island ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS ACT PROCEDURE R.I. Gen. Laws Section 38-2-1, et seq. The Town is committed to providing the public with access to public records under R.I. Gen. Laws Section 38-2-2 from all Town departments. The Town's various departments and staff provides numerous documents to the public, media, and attorneys every day in the ordinary course of business. However, for any person who (1) does not desire to make an oral request; (2) wishes to make a formal written request; (3) has a request that needs clarification; or (4) has a request outside of normal business hours, please complete the "Request for Records Under the Access to Public Records Act" form available at any Town Department or by following these procedures. Pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws Section 38-2-3(d), the Portsmouth Town Administrator has established the following procedure regarding access to public records: 1. A request to inspect and/or copy public records of the Town of Portsmouth may be presented orally or in writing to the Public Records Officer in each department as listed below: * Town Administrator John Klimm, (401) 683-3255, * Town Clerk Joanne Mower, (401) 683-2101, * Finance/Personnel Director James Lathrop, (401) 683-9118, * Building Official George Medeiros, (401) 683-3611, * Town Planner Gary Crosby, (401) 643-0382, * Canvasser Jacqueline Schulz, (401) 683-3157, * DPW Deputy Director Brian Woodhead, (401) 683-0362, * Police Records Clerk Debbie Pappas, (401) 683-0300, Normal business hours may vary for each department, though in general Town Hall is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In order to receive the records you request in a prompt manner, we ask that you complete the Request for Public Records Under the Access to Public Records Act form attached to these procedures. Copies are available in each department or online following these procedures. 2. The Public Records Officer in each department will provide you with a form to complete, which permits us to know the precise public documents you seek and assists us in processing your request in an expeditious manner. Although not required, in order to ensure compliance with the Access to Public Records Act and that you are provided with the public records you seek expeditiously, the Town asks that you complete the Public Records Act Request Form. This form is not required if you are seeking records available pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act or other documents prepared for or readily available to the public. 2 3. There are times/circumstances when the records will not be available at the time you make your request. If the records are not readily available, they can either be mailed to you or you can pick them up on a designated date. The Access to Public Records Act grants a public body ten (10) business days to respond to your request per R.I. Gen. Laws Section 38-2-3(e). The Act further provides that for good cause, a public body may submit a written request for an extension of up to twenty (20) business days to process the request. We thank you in advance for your understanding if it is necessary to request this extension. 4. Costs. The Access to Public Records Act gives you the opportunity to view and/or copy public records. The cost per copied page of written public documents will be fifteen cents ($0.15) for page copied on common business or legal size paper. You may elect to obtain public records in any and all media in which we are capable of providing them. The Act permits a reasonable charge for search and retrieval of documents. The hourly costs for a search and retrieval shall be fifteen dollars ($15.00) per hour, with no charge for the first hour. We will be more than happy to provide you with an estimate. Upon a request, we will provide a detailed itemization of the costs charged for search and retrieval. 5 Public Records. A "public record" is defined as "documents, papers, . . . or other material regardless of physical form or characteristics made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency" (R.I. Gen. Laws Section 38-2-2). 6. Redaction. Although a document may constitute a public record, there may be some information contained on the document that may be redacted/deleted as it may be exempt from disclosure under R. I. Gen. Laws Section 38-2-2. 7. Exemptions. The Access to Public Records Act exempts a variety of records from public disclosure, as set forth in R.I. Gen. Laws Section 38-2-2(4). 8. Appeal of Denial. Any person or entity denied the right to inspect a record of a public body by the Town may petition the Town Administrator for review of the decision denying the request. Any petitions from a denial should be addressed to John C. Klimm, Town Administrator. A final determination of whether to allow public inspection will be made within ten (10) business days after the submission of the review petition per R.I. Gen. Laws Section 38-2-8. 9. Complaint to the Attorney General. If the Town Administrator determines the record is not subject to public inspection, the person or entity seeking disclosure may file a complaint with the attorney general (150 Main Street, Providence, RI 02903; Telephone: 401-274-4400) or may retain private counsel for the purposes of instituting proceedings for injunctive or declaratory relief in the Superior Court of Providence County.
* Request for records<> under the Access to Public Records Act - Form only
Town of Portsmouth 2200 East Main Road Portsmouth, Rhode Island Phone: (401) 683-3255 REQUEST FOR RECORDS UNDER THE ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS ACT Date: Request Number: (given by Official) Name (optional): Address (optional): Telephone (optional): Requested Records: If these records are not readily available at the time of your request, please advise if you prefer to: _______ Pick up the records _______ Have records sent by regular mail For Office Use Only Request taken by: Request Number: Request referred to: Date: Time: Dept. response to this request provided on: Records to be available on: Mail: Pick-up:_____ Records provided: Costs: ____________ Copies:__________ Search and Retrieval:__________ **************************************************************************************************** Designated Public Officer's Office- Access to Public Records Request Receipt If you desire to pick up the records, they will be available on ____________________ at the Town _______________________'s Office. If, after review of your request, the Department determines that the requested records are exempt from disclosure for a reason set forth in the Rhode Island General Laws Section 38-2-2(4), the Town reserves the right to claim such exemption. NOTE: If you choose to pick up these records but did not include identifying information on this form (name, address, etc.), please inform the Public Records Officer of the date that you made the request, the records requested and Request Number:

From: Richard A. Rainer

All - Just seeing this now.

There is no written policy in Town Hall outside of what the Town Clerk forwarded below.

However, the Police and Fire Departments do have specific policy statements which I will forward electronically in my next email.

Additionally, there have been no memos circulated to staff since Feb. 1, 2015 regarding communications with the press.

We have an open relationship with the press and the two local reporters assigned to cover Portsmouth have unrestricted access to Town Hall and are present at all Town council meetings.

Rich Rainer


From: Richard A. Rainer

Below referenced files are attached.

r/ Rich Rainer