State Records Committee Appeal Decision 2018-43
BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH
BRADY EAMES, Petitioner, v.
PROVIDENCE CITY, Respondent.
DECISION AND ORDER
Case No. 18-43
By this appeal, Petitioner, Brady Eames, seeks access to records allegedly held by Respondent, Providence City.
On or about August 10, 2018, Mr. Eames made a records request to Providence City ("Respondent"), pursuant to the Government Records Access and Management Act (“GRAMA”). Mr. Eames requested records relating to any and all documentation of the penal bonds which have been issued, any and all documentation of the oaths of office, and any and all respective agreements relating to the Utah Local Governments’ Trust (“ULGT”).
In a letter dated August 13, 2018, Respondent notified Mr. Eames that the request did not meet the expedited standard, and that the request would be treated as a standard request. Respondent further indicated that they believed ULGT would be responding to the request on behalf of Providence City. Through what appears to be a miscommunication, Mr. Eames’ request was not responded to, and therefore deemed a denial. Thereafter, Mr. Eames filed an appeal to the Chief Appeals Officer.
Respondent granted, in part, Mr. Eames’ request by providing copies of oaths of office and billing statements for the bond held by Western Surety Company, responsive to his request. Mr. Eames filed an appeal with the State Records Committee (“Committee”). After hearing oral argument and testimony from all the parties on November 8, 2018, and carefully considering the requested relief of the parties, the Committee 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 § 63G-2-201(2). Records that are not public are designated as either “private,” “protected,” or “controlled.” See, Utah Code §§ 63G-2-302, -303, -304 and -305. Additionally, records to which access is restricted pursuant to court rule, another state statute, federal statute, or federal regulation, are also considered non-public records. Utah Code § 63G-2-201(3)(b).
2. The chief administrative officer of each governmental entity shall make and maintain adequate documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the governmental entity designed to furnish information to protect the legal and financial rights of persons directly affected by the entity’s activities. Utah Code § 63A-12-103(4).
3. Utah Code § 10-3-819 provides that elected officials for municipalities to execute a bond with good and sufficient sureties payable to the municipality and the requirements for the bond. Any political subdivision may create and maintain a reserve fund or may jointly with one or more other political subdivisions, make contributions to a joint reserve fund “for the purpose of purchasing liability insurance to protect the cooperating subdivisions from any or all risks created by this chapter.” Utah Code § 63G-7-703(2).
4. In order to comply with the requirements of Utah Code § 10-3-819, they have a contract with ULGT pursuant to Utah Code § 63G-7-703.
5. After having reviewed all written arguments and hearing testimony presented by the parties, the Committee finds that Respondent shall provide Mr. Eames with all records of penal bonds, all records of insurance in lieu of penal bonds, any remaining oaths of office, and records of the interlocal agreement with ULGT.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT the appeal of Petitioner, Brady Eames is GRANTED.
RIGHT TO APPEAL
A party to a proceeding before the Committee may seek judicial review in District Court of a Committee's Order by filing a petition for review of the Committee Order as provided in Utah Code § 63G-2-404. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(14). A petition for judicial review of a Committee Order "shall be filed no later than 30 days" after the date of the Committee Order. Utah Code § 63G-2-404(1)(a). The petition for judicial review must be a complaint which is governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and include the Committee as a necessary party and contain the required information listed in Subsection -404(2). Utah Code § 63G-2-404(1) & (2). The court shall make its decision de novo but shall allow introduction of evidence presented to the Committee, determine all questions of fact and law without a jury, and decide the issue at the earliest practical opportunity. Utah Code § 63G-2-404(6). In order to protect a parties’ rights on appeal, a party may wish to seek advice from an attorney.
Pursuant to Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(c), if the Committee orders the governmental entity to produce a record and no appeal is filed, the government entity herein shall comply with the order of the Committee and shall: (1) Produce the record; and (2) File a notice of compliance with the Committee. If the governmental entity ordered to produce a record fails to file a notice of compliance or a notice of intent to appeal, the Committee may do either or both of the following: (1) Impose a civil penalty of up to $500 for each day of continuing noncompliance; or (2) Send written notice of the entity's noncompliance to the Governor. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(d)(i)(B). In imposing a civil penalty, the Committee shall consider the gravity and circumstances of the violation, including whether the failure to comply was due to neglect or was willful or intentional. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(d)(ii).
Entered this 20th day of November 2018
BY THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE
DAVID FLEMING, Chairperson
State Records Committee
Page Last Updated November 28, 2018 .