State Records Committee Appeal 04-14
BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH
BRENT POLL, Appellant,
SOUTH WEBER CITY, Appellee.
DECISION AND ORDER
(Amended December 2, 2004)
Case No. 04-14
By this appeal, Brent Poll seeks access to draft minutes of the August 26, 2004 Planning Commission meeting. The State Records Committee, having reviewed the materials submitted by the parties, and having heard oral argument and testimony on November 18, 2004, now issues the following Decision and Order.
STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR DECISION
1. The Government Records Access and Management Act ("GRAMA") specifies that "all records are public unless otherwise expressly provided by statute." Utah Code Ann. 63-2-201(2). Citing Utah Code Ann. 63-2-103(19)(b)(i), South Weber City denied Mr. Poll access to the draft minutes on the basis that they are not "records" with the meaning of GRAMA.
2. Mr. Poll conceded at the hearing that he now has in his possession the minutes for the meeting in question. Consequently, the City cannot give him anything he does not already have regarding this request. The Committee concludes that draft planning commission minutes, which were not relied upon by the City to carry out action or policy, are properly classified as protected records under Utah Code Ann. 63-2-304(22).
3. This dispute arose from the fact that preparation of the minutes are outsourced. There is a period of time when neither an audio tape nor written minutes are available to the public. The City apparently does not keep a copy of the tape while the minutes are being prepared. Since this can be a critical time period for a citizen considering an appeal, the Committee strongly recommends that the City keep a copy of the official recordings of public hearings and make it available for public inspection and copying while the minutes are being prepared by the outside contractor. See Utah Code Ann. 52-4-7.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT the appeal of Mr. Poll is denied. South Weber City's determination regarding the classification of these records as protected is upheld.
RIGHT TO APPEAL
Either party may appeal this Decision and Order to the District Court. The petition for review must be filed no later than thirty (30) days after the date of this order. The petition for judicial review must be a complaint. The complaint and the appeals process are governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and Utah Code Ann. 63-2-404. The court is required to make its decision de novo. In order to protect its rights on appeal, a party may wish to seek advice from an attorney.
Entered this 2nd day of December, 2004.
BY THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE
Patricia Smith-Mansfield, Chairperson
State Records Committee