Sent: Friday, February 25, 2011 1:15 PM
Subject: RE: Question about FOIL
I have received your communication and admit that I am unaware nature of "RPIE statements."
With respect to your questions, first, every government agency is required to designate one or more "records access officers." A records access officer has the duty of coordinating an agency's response to requests for records.
Second, there is no provision in the Freedom of Information Law concerning expedited requests. However, I recommend contacting the records access officer by phone in an attempt to ascertain an approximate time within which the records can be disclosed, assuming that they are accessible under the law. It is possible that they may be readily retrieved or perhaps accessible on the agency's website. I note, however, that an agency may require that a request be made in writing, and that it has five business days from the receipt of a request to respond in some manner. If the agency needs more than five
business days, due to the scope of a request, the need to search or review, the number of other requests, etc., it is required to acknowledge the receipt of request within five business days, providing an approximate date, generally not to exceed twenty additional business days, indicating when it believes it will be able to grant the request in whole or in part.
In an effort to offer additional guidance, I went to the NYC Department of Finance website, and by entering "freedom of information" in its search box, you can be connected to a variety of material, including an email address that can be used to submit a request.
Lastly, the Freedom of Information Law pertains to all agency records,
including those that might have been prepared prior to that enactment of that law in 1974. In short, if a record exists and is maintained by or for an agency, it falls within the coverage of the Freedom of Information Law.
If you would like to discuss the matter, please feel free to call. I hope that I have been of assistance.
Robert J. Freeman
Committee on Open Government
Department of State
One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12231