Purpose: To establish Farmington Fire Protection District's policy and guidelines regarding the accessibility of District records.
Background: In accordance with Section 6253 of the Government Code, every individual has the right to inspect any public record, except those that are specifically exempted by law. The term "public record" includes any form of communication or representation, regardless of its physical form or characteristics, which contains information related to the conduct of the public's business and is prepared, owned, used, or retained by the Farmington Fire Protection District.
Policy: The Farmington Fire Protection District allows for the inspection of its records during normal office hours at its headquarters located at 25474 E Hwy 4, Farmington, CA 95230. Subject to statutory exemptions, every person has the right to access District records.
Procedure: All requests for viewing or photocopying District records, excluding regular billing and account information, should be directed to the District's Executive Assistant for processing. Upon receiving a request to inspect or obtain a copy of a public record, the Executive Assistant will make reasonable efforts to assist the individual in identifying responsive records, describing the information technology in which the record exists, and providing suggestions to overcome any practical basis for denying access.
If identifiable public records exist in electronic format and access is not restricted by law, the District will make the information available to the public in that format, provided it does not compromise the security or integrity of the original record or any proprietary software used to maintain it. The person requesting the information will bear the costs associated with producing the record, including construction, programming, and computer services if necessary for producing a copy of an electronic record.
District staff will provide a "Public Records Review Request" form to individuals requesting the inspection or photocopying of District records and assist in completing the form, if needed. After receiving a completed request, the District will:
(a) Specify the location where the inspection must take place and any time limitations for returning the documents.
(b) Supervise and assist the requestor during the record review.
(c) Provide copies of the records upon request and receipt of appropriate fees.
The District reserves the right to temporarily deny or restrict the inspection of public records under the following circumstances:
(a) The records are currently required by District staff to perform their duties.
(b) Other individuals are currently inspecting the records or waiting to do so.
(c) The records need to be retrieved from storage.
(d) Appropriate District personnel are unavailable to supervise the inspection at the time of the request.
(e) The matter requires legal counsel's determination regarding the possible exemption of the record from disclosure.
If a request for records is denied, the notification of denial will include the name, title, or position of the District personnel responsible for the decision.
Fees: Requests for copies of identifiable public records or information produced from such records must be accompanied by the appropriate fee determined by District staff based on the actual chargeable costs. The District's Executive Assistant will provide a fee schedule reflecting these costs, which may be modified from time to time. In cases where the State Legislature has established a statutory fee for a specific record, the statutory fee will be charged.
Records Not Open for Inspection: The Farmington Fire Protection District recognizes that certain records are not open for public inspection due to various reasons. The following records are exempted from public inspection:
- Preliminary drafts, notes, or interagency or intraagency memoranda that are not retained by the District in the ordinary course of business, provided that the public interest in withholding those records clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
- Records related to pending litigation involving the District or claims made pursuant to Division 3.6 (commencing with Section 810) of Title 1 of the Government Code until the litigation or claim has been finally adjudicated or settled.
- Personnel, medical, or similar files that, if disclosed, would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
- Geological, geophysical, and similar data, plant production data, or market and crop reports obtained in confidence from any person regarding utility systems development.
- Test questions, scoring keys, and other examination data used for licensing, employment, or academic examinations.
- Contents of real estate appraisals, engineering or feasibility estimates, and evaluations made for or by the District relating to property acquisition or prospective public supply and construction contracts until all property has been acquired or contract agreements have been obtained.
- Records exempted or prohibited from disclosure by federal or state law, including provisions of the Evidence Code concerning privilege.
- Statements of personal worth or personal financial data submitted by an applicant to establish qualifications for a license, certificate, or permit issued by the District acting as a licensing agency.
- Memoranda, correspondence, and writings submitted to the District or its Board of Directors by legal counsel pursuant to the attorney-client privilege.
- "Trade secrets" as defined within the context of records not open to public access. Trade secrets may include proprietary information used by the District, which, if disclosed, would provide a business advantage to competitors who are unaware of or do not use that information.
- Utility customer records, except when accessed by an authorized agent or family member, or when required by appropriate governmental or law enforcement agencies or specific legal requirements.
- Documents related to Vulnerability Assessment.
- The District reserves the right to claim exemptions when the public interest served by not disclosing a record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure.
Note: The Farmington Fire Protection District will provide specific details and guidelines to clarify any further inquiries or concerns related to the accessibility of District records.