6 things your public records act response letter should have

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Responding to California Public Records Act requests can be a pain in the butt.   Finding out that your response letter didn’t provide a good-enough response is more than a pain in the butt, it’s a pain in everyone’s butt.  Use these six tips to make sure your response letter is up to snuff.

Your response letter should address each of these items and explicitly spell out the answer:

  1. Let the requester know that the records are or are not available.
  2. Tell the requester how many pages you are sending them. Leaving them guessing will only make them ask you again.
  3. If you charge for copies, tell the requester the price per page to make a copy.  Is it $.14 or $.10 per page?
  4. Total up the cost for the request, then let them know what the total price is .  Some people just can’t add and setting the right expectation helps avoid confrontation and delays.
  5. Let the requester know that you can’t release the records until the they “pay-the-fee.”
  6. Tell the requester how you are going to send them the records.  And if you are not going to send them the records, tell them where they can pick the records up.

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