SPR Bulletin 04-17

TO: Records Access Officers and Requestors of Public Records
SUBJECT: Timeframes for the Supervisor of Records to Complete Reconsiderations of Determinations and In Camera Reviews of Records
EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2018
EXPIRATION DATE: Until superseded
PURPOSE: This bulletin sets forth timeframes for the Supervisor of Records to complete reconsiderations of determinations and in camera reviews of records.

BACKGROUND:

The Public Records Law and its Public Access Regulations (Regulations) were updated with changes effective January 1, 2017. Among other things, the updated law requires the Supervisor of Records (Supervisor) to issue a written determination regarding any petition submitted in accordance with section 10A of chapter 66 not later than 10 business days following receipt of the petition by the Supervisor. However, there are no statutory timeframes for the Supervisor to issue rulings on reconsiderations of these determinations or in connection with in camera reviews of records.

FINDINGS:

  1. A requestor may petition the Supervisor for failure by a records access officer (RAO) to comply with a requirement of section 10 of chapter 66 or 950 C.M.R. 32.00. G. L. c. 66, § 10A; see also 950 C.M.R. 32.08(1).
  2. The Supervisor may require an inspection of the requested record(s) in camera during any investigation or any proceeding initiated pursuant to 950 C.M.R. 32.08 or require a detailed description of the record(s) with respect to claims of attorney-client privilege. G. L. c. 66, § 10A(a); 950 C.M.R. 32.08(4).
  3. The Supervisor must issue a written determination regarding any properly submitted appeal petition no later than 10 business days following receipt of the petition by the Supervisor. G. L. c. 66, § 10A(a).
  4. The requestor or RAO may file a request for reconsideration of the Supervisor’s determination issued pursuant to G. L. c. 66, § 10A(a) within 10 business days of the date of the Supervisor’s determination letter.

ACTIONS:

  1. The Supervisor must issue a written determination regarding any timely request for reconsideration of a Supervisor’s determination not later than 15 business days following receipt of the reconsideration petition by the Supervisor. If necessary, additional time may be granted as agreed upon by both the requestor and the records custodian.
  2. The Supervisor must complete an in camera review of records, or of the detailed description of records withheld pursuant to the attorney-client privilege, and issue a written determination regarding the records not later than 15 business days following the Supervisor’s receipt of said records or detailed description. If necessary, additional time may be granted as agreed upon by both the requestor and the records custodian.

Questions regarding this Bulletin should be directed to:
Public Records Division
One Ashburton Place, Room 1719
Boston, MA 02108
Phone 617-727-2832
Fax 617-727-5914
Email pre@sec.state.ma.us
www.sec.state.ma.us/pre