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9611 SE 36th Street
Mercer Island, WA 98040
Phone: 206.275.7793
Fax: 206.275.7663
Contact: Ali Spietz, City Clerk
Email: ali.spietz@mercerg. . .
Hours: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm (Mon - Fri)
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City of Mercer Island / City Clerk / Public Records Requests

Requesting Public Records

The City of Mercer Island provides access to public records under the provisions of the Washington State Public Records Act (RCW 42.56). The City's rules are found in Chapter 2.14 of the Mercer Island City Code, and full details are provided in the Public Records Act Rules of Procedure.
 

How do I make a Public Records request?

Please visit the City's Open Public Records portal to make your request. 

Requests by mail, phone, fax, email or in person are also accepted, but will be entered into the portal for processing. For written requests, you may download and complete the Public Records Request form.
 

Who can initiate a Public Records request?

Anyone may initiate a request for public records.
 

What type of information can I request?

Public Records requests may be used to obtain "agency records," which include a wide variety of documents and other materials (including print, photographic, and electronic formats) that were created or obtained by a city agency and are, at the time the request is filed, in the City's possession and control. The Public Records Act excludes certain categories of records from disclosure.

Many public records are currently available on the City’s web site at no cost. Examples include the Comprehensive Plan, critical areas and shoreline updates, Budget, City Council meetings (current and past), Mercer Island City Code, and other reports.
 

How soon must the City respond to my request?

The City has five business days in which to respond to the request by:
  • Providing the record(s) or a link to the record(s)
  • Acknowledging receipt of the request and providing a reasonable estimate of the time the city will need to respond to the request
  • Denying the records request
See RCW 42.56.520 for additional information regarding responses.  If a requestor does not receive a response within five days, he or she should contact the Public Records Officer.
 

When may public records be inspected?

Records identified as responsive to your Public Records Act request will be available through the City's Open Public Records portal


How much will I be charged for my request?

  • There is no fee for inspecting public records
  • Black & white copies $.15 per page
  • Mailing actual cost of postage and shipping container
  • Other media actual cost of reproduction (color, electronic and/or information provided on a disk or CD-ROM)
For large requests, the City may:
  • Require a deposit of up to ten percent of estimated cost before making copies
  • Provide copies in installments
  • Require advance payment before providing further installments.
 

City Implements New Software to Streamline Records Requests

Oct. 2, 2017 - Mercer Island residents who wish to request public records from the City can look forward to a new online system, starting in early October, called NextRequest. And for the first time, everyone can see what has been requested as well as the City's official response.

"Our goal is to make the public records request system more streamlined and efficient for staff and customers, as well as more transparent to the community," says Public Records Officer and City Clerk Ali Spietz. Spietz and Mary Swan, Paralegal, spend more than half their work hours responding to public records requests every week.

The web portal can help people find information without a public records request too, by directing them to relevant reports and pages that are already on the City's website. The portal will also assist the City in better complying with a raft of new reporting requirements handed down by the State this summer without any funding provided.

In responding to a Washington State Auditor's survey in 2015, Mercer Island concluded it spent close to $300,000 the previous year addressing public records requests. Most of that expense derived from staff time, including the hours spent by the City's Public Records Officers (City Clerk, Paralegal, and Police Evidence Technician) and the Assistant City Attorney.

"We want to work efficiently on public records, so staff can focus more of their time on the issues most pressing to the City," says Swan. "With our new web portal, we are headed in the right direction.



 
 

Who is the City’s designated Public Records Officer?

General City Requests Police Department Requests
Mary Swan
Paralegal/Public Records Officer
9611 SE 36th Street
Mercer Island, WA  98040
206-275-7651
206-275-7663 fax
prr@mercergov.org
 
Allison (Ali) Spietz
City Clerk/Public Records Officer
9611 SE 36th Street
Mercer Island, WA  98040
206-275-7793
206-275-7663 fax
prr@mercergov.org
Kelly Donnelly
Mercer Island Police Evidence Technician/Public Records Officer
9611 SE 36th Street
Mercer Island, WA 98040
206-275-7610
206-275-7941 fax
prr@mercergov.org


What is the role of the Public Records Officer?

  • Oversee compliance with the Public Records Act
  • Administer program consistent with the City of Mercer Island Public Records Act Rules of Procedure
  • Provide the “fullest assistance” to requestors
  • Coordinate response to requests with departments and offices
  • Provide most timely possible & efficient action on requests
  • Protect public records from damage or disorganization

Can I look at the City’s index of records? 

There is no single index of City records. The City of Mercer Island has determined by formal order that maintaining a central index of City records is unduly burdensome, costly, and would interfere with City operations due to the number and complexity of records generated as a result of the wide range of City activities
 

What records are exempt from disclosure?

The Public Records Act, RCW 42.56, provides that a number of document types and information are prohibited from being disclosed or are exempt from public inspection and copying (see WA State Attorney General's exemption list).  In addition, there are other statutes not listed in Chapter 42.56 RCW which may exempt or prohibit disclosure of certain documents [see exemption list outside RCW 42.56 (Appendix C to “Public Records Act for Washington Cities, Counties, and Special Purpose Districts,” Municipal Research and Services Center, March 2016, and as amended)]. 

The City of Mercer Island will not disclose lists of individuals for commercial purposes [RCW 42.56.070(9)].
 
If only a portion of a record is exempt from disclosure, the Public Records Officer or designee will redact the exempt portions before providing the document.
 

Special Considerations: 

Local governments are not required to create documents to comply with a request for specific information. Rather, they must produce existing records for review and copying. Also, local governments are not obligated to compile information from various records so that information is in a form that is more useful to the requestor.

If a requestor has not reviewed or claimed records within thirty days of notice that records are available or fails to make payment, the Public Records Officer may close the request.
 
If requested records contain information that may affect rights of others, before providing the records, the Public Records Officer or designee may give notice and allow time for action by the other parties.
 
After a request has been filled and the Public Records Officer becomes aware of additional documents existing at the time of the request, these will be provided to the requestor on an expedited basis.

Additional Resources:

 

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