State Records Committee Appeal Decision 2020-15
BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH
KENT SINGLETON, Petitioner, v.
RIVERDALE CITY, Respondent.
DECISION AND ORDER
Case No. 20-15
By this appeal, Petitioner, Kent Singleton, seeks access to records allegedly held by Respondent, Riverdale City.
On a form dated September 12, 2019, Mr. Singleton made a request to Riverdale City for copies of the policies and procedures for operating a business in the Riverdale Senior Center (“Center”) and the contract between the Center and the Newsletter Advertisement Agency from 2016 to 2019. Mr. Singleton filed the request for records pursuant to the Government Records Access and Management Act (“GRAMA”). Cindi Draper from Riverdale City stated in an e-mail to Mr. Singleton that his records request had been forwarded to the city attorney, but the “Police Department does not own the records you are requesting.”
After not receiving any other communication from Riverdale City, Mr. Singleton filed an appeal with the Chief Administrative Office for Riverdale City on October 10, 2019. After again not receiving a response, on October 30, 2019 Mr. Singleton filed an appeal with the State Records Committee (“Committee”). On February 21, 2020, the Committee held a hearing regarding the appeal, and after carefully considering the requested relief of the parties, the Committee issues the following Decision and Order.
STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR DECISION
GRAMA states that in response to a records request, a governmental entity is not required to create a record. Utah Code § 63G-2-201(8)(a).
Riverdale City provided testimony that it did not possess or control any records responsive to Mr. Singleton’s records request. After considering the evidence presented to the Committee including written and oral arguments, the Committee finds the evidence presented by Riverdale City persuasive and finds that Riverdale City does not possess records responsive to Mr. Singleton’s records request.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT the appeal of Petitioner, Kent Singleton is hereby DENIED.
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 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 3rd day of March 2020
BY THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE
PATRICIA SMITH-MANSFIELD, Chairperson
State Records Committee
Page Last Updated March 11, 2020 .