Public Records Request Guide

Town of Boxborough

Public Records Request Guidelines

Effective January 1, 2017, the Massachusetts Public Records Law, G.L. c.66 and c.4, §7(26) provides that a municipality must, within 10 business days (Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays), respond to a request for records by providing access to or a copy of such records, or explaining any delay or denial. These guidelines are intended to assist members of the public seeking access to public records in the custody of the Town of Boxborough.

The following Departments have Records Access Officers (RAOs): Town Clerk, Town Administrator, Police, and Fire. RAO’s are responsible for responding to requests for public records.

Normal business hours for Town Hall are 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM Mondays; 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM; Tuesdays–Thursdays; 8:00 AM – 12:00 Noon Fridays.

 

Name

Title

Business Address

Phone

Email

Elizabeth Markiewicz

Town Clerk

29 Middle Rd.

978-264-1727

emarkiewicz@boxborough-ma.gov

Selina Shaw

Town Administrator

29 Middle Rd.

978-264-1712

sshaw@boxborough-ma.gov

Warren Ryder

Warren O'Brien

Police Chief

Lieutenant

520 Massachusetts Ave.

978-264-1750

978-264-1761

wryder@boxborough-ma.gov

wobrien@boborough-ma.gov

Randolph White

Fire Chief

502 Massachusetts Ave.

978-264-1770

rwhite@boxborough-ma.gov

 

How to Request a Public Record

  • Public records requests can be made in person at Town Hall, 29 Middle Road, or in writing by mail, fax (978-264-3127), or email to any of the RAO’s listed above. Although not required, we encourage requests to be in writing to ensure an efficient and accurate response.

     

  • Written requests shall include a reasonable description of the requested record(s), as well as the requester’s name and contact information. Voluntary Public Records Request Forms are available in all municipal offices and online.

     

    Response to Requests

  • The RAO, if applicable, shall provide a written response within 10 business days following the receipt of request. Written requests received during normal business hours (see above) will be considered received on that date. Written requests received after business hours shall not be considered received until the following business days. Business days shall not include Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.

     

  • If a full response, including provision of records, cannot be made within 10 business days of receipt of the request, the RAO or designee will respond to the requester in writing explaining the anticipated time frame for a complete response; identifying any records that the Town does not have in its custody; identifying records which the Town does not expect will be provided, or that will be redacted, specifying the relevant exemption and its application to the requested record or portion thereof; providing a good faith fee estimate; and including a statement of appeal rights.

     

  • The requester may be asked to clarify the request, provide more specific detail, and/or agree to a voluntary extension of time for the Town to respond fully to the request.

     

  • Typically, a complete response will be provided within 25 business days of receipt of the request. If, due to the scope of the request, the need for redactions, or other complications, the Town is concerned that it will not be able to provide a complete response within that time frame, the Town may ask the requester for an extension of time to comply or petition the Supervisor of Public Records for additional time.

     

  • The Town maintains a searchable website at www.boxborough-ma.gov where certain public records are available for inspection, downloading, or printing. If a request seeks documents publicly available on the Town’s website, the requester will be directed to the website in satisfaction of the request, unless the requester does not have the ability to receive or access the records in a usable electronic form.

     

  • To the extent feasible, the RAO or designee will provide public records in response to a request by electronic means unless the record is not available electronically or the requester does not have the ability to receive or access the records electronically. To the extent available and feasible, the RAO will provide an electronic record in the requester’s preferred format.

     

  • If the requester would like to have requested records provided by mail, the requester will be charged the actual cost of postage, using the least expensive form of mailing possible, unless the requester requests, and agrees to pay for, an expedited form of mailing and such fees are paid in advance.

     

  • The Town is only required to provide records that are in existence at the time of a request and is not required to create a new record to accommodate a specific request.

    Fees

  • A RAO may assess a reasonable fee for the production of a public record unless that record is readily available for public inspection. If fees will be assessed, a written estimate of the cost will be provided the requester.

     

  • Permissible charges include, but are not limited to:

     

    a. five cents ($0.05) per page of black and white printouts or copies;

     

    b. actual cost for storage devices or materials such as CDs or thumb/flash drives;

     

    c. actual cost for duplication of records not susceptible to ordinary means of reproduction, such as color copies and large format plans;

     

    d. postage fees (where applicable); and

     

    e. fees for employee time required to satisfy a public records request (not to exceed $25.00/hour).

     

  • No copying fee will be charged for records provided in electronic form.

     

  • A fee may be charged for employee time necessary to identify, locate, and compile the records requested. A fee may also be charged for employee time necessary to review, and, as applicable, segregate and/or redact information exempt from public disclosure. The hourly rate for such fees shall be the hourly rate of the lowest paid employee capable of performing the task. This hourly rate shall not exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per hour.

     

  • A RAO may delay supplying copies of records until all fees are received.

     

     Appeals

  • If a requester wishes to assert a claim that they have been denied access to public records, they may appeal the RAO’s determination within 90 days to the Supervisor of Records pursuant to 950 CMR 32.08(1). The Supervisor shall make a final determination on the appeal within ten (10) business days of receipt.

     

  • For further information on appeals, see the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s “A Guide to the Massachusetts Public Records Law,” January 2017 edition, available at www.sec.state.ma.us/pre/prepdf/guide.pdf

     

If you have questions or concerns about making a public record request, please call 978-264-1727 or send an email to the Town Clerk at emarkiewicz@boxborough-ma.gov.