Public Records Request Guidelines
The Rhode Island Ethics Commission adheres to the Access to Public Records Act, R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 38-2-1 to -15, and has instituted the following procedures to help you obtain public records:
1. Commission staff is available to respond to records requests made either orally or in writing during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Records requests will be accepted in person, via email, US mail, telephone, or fax. Please contact the Ethics Commission’s Office Manager with any questions about availability of documents.
2. In most cases, you do not need to submit a written request to inspect records as most Commission public records, including those available pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act (R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-2), are readily available for inspection during regular business hours at the Commission Office. R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-3(c).
3. You may be asked to submit your request in writing where it involves: search and retrieval; multiple categories of records; voluminous documents; redaction; documents in storage; or other such circumstance. You may complete a copy of the Commission’s Public Records Request Form, which may be obtained at the Commission office or on its website, or you may otherwise submit your request in writing.
4. Please be advised that the Access to Public Records Act allows a public body ten (10) business days to respond, which can be extended an additional twenty (20) business days for “good cause.” We appreciate your understanding and patience.
5. In the event that you wish to inspect public records that are currently in use by the Commission or which must be retrieved from storage, the Commission will contact you and arrange a time for inspection at the Commission office.
6. If you wish to obtain photocopies of public records, the cost is fifteen cents ($0.15) per page for documents copied on standard or legal size paper. For search and retrieval, the cost is fifteen dollars ($15.00) per hour, although there is no charge for the first hour of search or retrieval.
7. All payments for copies of records shall be paid in advance of delivery, or at such later time as the Commission may specify. All checks/money orders shall be payable to the State of Rhode Island.
8. If you believe that you have been denied access to public records, you have the right to file a review petition with the Executive Director of the Ethics Commission. If you are still not satisfied, you may file a complaint with the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General or initiate proceedings in Rhode Island Superior Court.
9. The Rhode Island Ethics Commission is committed to providing you with public records in an expeditious and courteous manner.
Kent A. Willever, Esq.
Rhode Island Ethics Commission
October 14, 2011