1.13 PUBLIC RIGHT TO ACCESS DATA POLICY
PURPOSE: The purpose of this policy is to provide information on the public’s right to access public data.
POLICY STATEMENT: The Government Data Practices Act (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13) presumes that all government data is public unless a state or federal law says the data is not public. Government data is a term that means all recorded information a government entity has, including paper, email, DVDs, photographs, etc.
The Government Data Practices Act also provides that this government entity must keep all government data in a way that makes it easy for you, as a member of the public, to access public data. You have the right to look at (inspect), free of charge, all public data that we keep. You also have the right to get copies of public data. The Government Data Practices Act allows us to charge for copies. You have the right to look at data, free of charge, before deciding to request copies.
A. HOW TO MAKE A DATA REQUEST
To look at data or request copies of data that this government entity keeps, make a specific written request to the City identifying the data you seek. Make your request for data to the appropriate individual listed in the Data Practices Contacts list. You may make your request for data by mail, fax, or email, using the Data Request Form.
If you choose not to use the Data Request Form, your request should include:
- that you, as a member of the public, are making a request for data under the Government Data Practices Act, Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13;
- whether you would like to inspect the data, get copies of the data, or both; and
- a clear description of the data you would like to inspect or have copied.
This government entity cannot require you, as a member of the public, to identify yourself or explain the reason for your data request. However, depending on how you want us to process your request (if, for example, you want us to mail you copies of data), we may need some information about you. If you choose not to give us any identifying information, we will provide you with contact information so you may check on the status of your request. In addition, please keep in mind that if we do not understand your request and have no way to contact you, we will not be able to begin processing your request.
B. HOW WE RESPOND TO A DATA REQUEST
Upon receiving your request, we will work to process it. If it is not clear what data you are requesting, we will ask you for clarification.
- If we do not have the data, we will notify you in writing within 10 business days or as soon as reasonably possible.
- If we have the data, but the data are not public, we will notify you within 10 business days or as soon as reasonably possible and state which specific law says the data are not public.
- If we have the data, and the data are public, we will respond to your request within 10 business days or as soon as reasonably possible, by doing one of the following:
- arrange a date, time, and place to inspect data, for free, if your request is to look at the data, or
- provide you with copies of the data within 10 business days or as soon as reasonably possible. You may choose to pick up your copies, or we will mail or fax them to you. If you want us to send you the copies, you will need to provide us with an address or fax number. We will provide electronic copies (such as email or CD-ROM) upon request if we keep the data in electronic format.
Information about copy charges is noted below.
If you do not understand some of the data (technical terminology, abbreviations, or acronyms), please let us know. We will give you an explanation if you ask.
The Government Data Practices Act does not require us to create or collect new data in response to a data request if we do not already have the data, or to provide data in a specific form or arrangement if we do not keep the data in that form or arrangement. (For example, if the data you request are on paper only, we are not required to create electronic documents to respond to your request.) If we agree to create data in response to your request, we will work with you on the details of your request, including cost and response time.
In addition, the Government Data Practices Act does not require us to answer questions that are not requests for data.
C. REQUESTS FOR SUMMARY DATA
Summary data are statistical records or reports that are prepared by removing all identifiers from private or confidential data on individuals. The preparation of summary data is not a means to gain access to private or confidential data. We will prepare summary data if you make your request in writing and pre-pay/pay for the cost of creating the data. Upon receiving your written request, we will respond within 10 business days or as soon as reasonably possible with the data or details of when the data will be ready and how much we will charge.
D. DATA PRACTICES CONTACTS
Data Practices Compliance Official
221 East Clark Street, Albert Lea, MN 56007
Tel: 507-377-4335 Fax: 507-377-4302
Data Practices Designee(s)
Tel: 507-377-4333 Fax: 507-377-4302
Tel: 507-377-4335 Fax: 507-377-4302
Tel: 507-377-43305 Fax: 507-377-4302
Tel: 507-377-4321 Fax: 507-377-4302
Public Safety Data
Tel: 507-377-4340 Fax: 507-377-4302
Public Works Data
Tel: 507-377-4325 Fax: 507-377-4302
Tel: 507-377-4355 Fax: 377-4302
Parks and Recreation Data
Tel: 507-377-4368 Fax: 507-433-4302
The City of Albert Lea charges members of the public for copies of government data. These charges are authorized under Minnesota Statutes, §13.03, subd. 3(c). We may also arrange for you to pre-pay for the copies. You must pay for the copies before we will give them to you. The City will not charge a fee for the time it takes to separate public data from private, non-public, or confidential data (i.e. redaction).
A fee will not be charged for the inspection of government data. Inspection includes the individuals’ ability, through their own devices, to photograph or copy a document without removing it from City offices or damaging or defacing it in any manner.
If, either before or after inspection, a requesting party wishes to have government data reproduced and/or transmitted to any location outside of City offices, fees will be charged for that service, as permitted by the MGDPA, of $.25 per page. There will be an additional charge for CDs, photographs, postage, etc.
City Council Approval: 10-26-15