8-3: Inspection of Public Records – Policy

 

Policy Overview (Formerly 1-14, 9-3)

This policy provides guidelines for making public records available for inspection by the public in compliance with the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA).  Citizens in a democracy have a fundamental right to have access to public records. This right is recognized by the New Mexico Legislature through the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act, NMSA 1978, §§ 14-2-1 et seq., and by the New Mexico Supreme Court, which stated in 1977 that a citizen’s right to know is the rule and secrecy is the exception. IPRA provides that every person has a right to inspect the public records of this state, subject to certain exceptions.

Scope and Applicability

  1. This policy applies to all employees who may receive requests for inspection of public records, and to the requests.
  2. This policy applies to all public records held by the College and is subject to the process set forth in this policy, in related procedures, and state law.

Policy Statement

It is the policy of SFCC to comply with existing IPRA requirements including the exceptions that are allowed or required by law.  A process for requesting and responding to public record requests is included.

Definitions

  1. IPRA is the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act, NMSA 1978, §§ 14-2-1 et seq (Inspection of New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act, NMSA 1978, Chapter 14, Article 2)
  2. Public records are defined by IPRA as all documents and records, regardless of physical form, that are used, created, received, maintained or held by or on behalf of any public body and relate to public business, whether or not the records are required by law to be created or maintained.
  3. Records Custodian is designated by the Executive Director of the Office of Marketing and Public Relations as the official, SFCC respondent to IPRA requests. The Records Custodian responds to all request to inspect public records.

Policy Process

  1. All requests to inspect any documents belonging to SFCC must be referred to the Office of Marketing and Public Relations (OMPR) for consideration and action.
  2. A written request must contain the name, address and telephone number of the person making the request. Written requests may be submitted in person or sent via US mail, email or facsimile. The request must describe the records sought in sufficient detail to enable the Records Custodian to identify and locate the requested records.
  3. Requests to inspect public records should be submitted to:
    Executive Director of Marketing and Public Relations
    Records Custodian
    Santa Fe Community College
    6401 Richards Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 87508
    505-428-1667; Fax: 505-428-1450; email: info@sfcc.edu
  4. The right of public inspection is limited to existing public records, and the College is not required to create a public record that does not otherwise exist. Exceptions to the right to inspect public records that are specifically listed in IPRA include, but are not limited to, medical records, letters of reference concerning employment, licensing or permits, matters of opinion in personnel or student files, confidential law enforcement records, documents covered by the Confidential Materials Act, trade secrets, attorney-client privileged information, and records that are considered non-public “as otherwise provided by law,” and/or as defined by the IPRA.
  5. The Records Custodian will collect requested documents, determine whether they are Public Record, and provide appropriate documents to the requestor. As a matter of courtesy, when possible, any employee whose email is the subject of an IPRA request will be informed of the request by the Records Custodian.
  6. If a person requesting inspection would like a copy of a public record, a reasonable fee may be charged. The Records Custodian may request that applicable fees for copying public records be paid in advance, before the copies are made. A receipt indicating that the fees have been paid for making copies of public records will be provided upon request to the person requesting the copies.
  7. The Records Custodian must permit inspection immediately or as soon as practicable, but no later than the number of days specified by law after the Records Custodian receives the inspection request.
  8. If inspection is not permitted within the legally specified time frame, the person making the request will receive a written response explaining when the records will be available for inspection or when the public body will respond to the request.
  9. If any of the records sought are not available for public inspection, the Records Custodian will send a written response explaining the reasons inspection has been denied to the requestor. The written denial shall be delivered or mailed within the time frame specified by law and procedure, after the Records Custodian received the request for inspection.

Statement of Accountability/Responsibility

The President, through the Executive Director of Marketing and Public Relations and the Office of Marketing and Public Relations (OMPR), shall be responsible for enforcing Marketing and Public Relations procedures and policies.  OMPR shall work with the different departments and offices to comply with this policy and develop procedures that will enforce this policy regarding awareness.

Authority

New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act, NMSA 1978, §§ 14-2-1 et seq (Inspection of New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act, NMSA 1978, Chapter 14, Article 2)

Approved by SFCC Governing Board: 2.26.09

Revised and SFCC Governing Board approved: 12/2/15