Section 105-490; Ord. 18249; Amending Chapter 2 of the City Code as it relates to public records, meetings and votes


Ordinance No.            018249                      Council Bill No. B 309-04           


AN ORDINANCE

amending Chapter 2 of the City Code as it relates to public records, meetings and votes; and fixing the time when this ordinance shall become effective.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF COLUMBIA, MISSOURI, AS FOLLOWS:

    SECTION 1.  Chapter 2 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Columbia, Missouri, is hereby amended as follows:

    Material to be deleted in strikeout; material to be added underlined.

Sec. 2-23. Definitions.

    As used in sections 2-23 through 2-25.9 unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms mean:

. . .

     Public meeting. Any meeting of a public governmental body at which any public business is discussed, decided, or public policy formulated, whether the meeting is conducted in person or by means of communications equipment, including but not limited to, conference call, video conference, internet chat, or internet message board.  “Public meeting” but shall not include an informal gathering of members of a governmental body for ministerial or social purposes when there is no intent to avoid the purposes of this article.

     Public record. Any record whether written or electronically stored retained by or of any public governmental body including any report, survey, memorandum, or other document or study prepared and presented to for the public government body by a consultant or other professional service paid for in whole or in part by public funds including records created or maintained by private contractors under an agreement with the city. The term "public record" shall not include any internal memorandum or letter received or prepared by or on behalf of a member of a public governmental body consisting of advice, opinions and recommendations in connection with the deliberative decision-making process of the public governmental body, unless such records are retained by the public governmental body or presented at a public meeting.

     Public vote. Any vote whether conducted in person, by telephone, or by any other electronic means cast at any public meeting of any public governmental body.

Sec. 2-24. Meetings, votes, records to be open to public.

    (a)     Except as otherwise provided by ordinance, all public meetings of public governmental bodies shall be open to the public.

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     (e)    Any person may record any open public meeting by audiotape, videotape, or other electronic means provided the recording is done in a manner that does not disrupt the meeting.

Sec. 2-25. Notice of meetings.

    (a)     All public governmental bodies shall give notice of the time, date, and place of each meeting, and its tentative agenda, in a manner reasonably calculated to advise the public of the matters to be considered. If the meeting will be conducted by telephone or other electronic means, the notice of the meeting shall identify the mode by which the meeting will be conducted and the designated location where the public may observe and attend the meeting. If a public body plans to meet by internet chat, internet message board, or other computer link, it shall post a notice of the meeting on its website in addition to its principal office and shall notify the public how to access that meeting.  Reasonable notice shall include making available copies of the notice to any representative of the news media who requests notice of meetings of a particular governmental body concurrent with the notice being made available to the members of the particular governmental body. Reasonable notice shall also include posting the notice on the bulletin board in the fourth floor hallway of the Daniel Boone Building, 701 East Broadway and on a bulletin board or other prominent place which is easily accessible to the public and clearly designated for that purpose in the building in which the meeting is to be held.

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Sec. 2-25.1. Closed meetings and votes.

    Except to the extent otherwise required by ordinance, a public governmental body is authorized to close meetings and votes, to the extent they relate to the following:

. . .

(3)        Hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting of particular employees by a public governmental body when personal information about the employee is discussed. However, any vote on a final decision, when taken by a public governmental body, to hire, fire, promote or discipline an employee of a public governmental body must shall be made available with a record of how each member voted to the public within seventy-two (72) hours of the close of the meeting where such action occurs; provided, however, that any employee so affected shall be entitled to prompt notice of such decision during the seventy-two (72) hour period before such decision is made available to the public. As used in this section, the term "personal information" means information relating to the performance or merit of individual employees.
. . .

Sec. 2-25.3. Closed records.

    All city records to the extent they relate to the following shall be closed records to the extent allowed by law:

. . .

(3)        Leasing, purchase or sale of real estate by a public governmental body where public knowledge of the transaction might adversely affect the legal consideration therefor. However, any public record approving a contract relating to the leasing, purchase or sale of real estate by a public governmental body shall be made public within seventy-two (72) hours after upon execution of the lease, purchase or sale of the real estate.

(4)        Hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting of particular employees by a public governmental body when personal information about the employee is recorded. However, the record of any vote on a final decision, when taken by a public governmental body to hire, fire, promote or discipline an employee of a public governmental body must shall be made available with a record of how each member voted to the public within seventy-two (72) hours of the close of the meeting where such actions occurred; provided, however, that an employee so affected shall be entitled to prompt notice of such decision during the seventy-two (72) hour period before such decision is made available to the public. As used in this section, the term "personal information" means information relating to the performance or merit of individual employees.

. . .

(17)        Confidential or privileged communications between a public governmental body and its auditor, including all auditor work product; provided, however, that all final audit reports issued by the auditor including the annual independent financial audit report shall be an open records and the city manager may declare individual internal audit reports to be open records.

(18)         Operational guidelines and policies developed, adopted or maintained by any city department responsible for law enforcement, public safety, first response, or public health for use in responding to or preventing any critical incident which is or appears to be terrorist in nature and which has the potential to endanger individual or public safety or health.  Nothing in this exception shall be deemed to close information regarding expenditures, purchases, or contracts made by any city department in implementing these guidelines or policies.  The city council finds that disclosure of such records would impair the city’s ability to protect the safety or health of persons and further states that the public interest in nondisclosure outweighs the public interest in disclosure of the records.

( 1819)    Existing and proposed security systems and structural plans of real property owned or leased by the city, and information that is voluntarily submitted by a non-public entity owning or operating an infrastructure to any public governmental body for use by that body to devise plans for protection of that infrastructure, the public disclosure of which would threaten public safety. The city council finds that disclosure of such records would impair the city's ability to protect the security and safety of persons and real property, and that the public interest in nondisclosure outweighs the public interest in disclosure of the records. Records related to the procurement of or expenditures relating to security systems shall be open except to the extent provided in this section.

( 1920)    Records that identify the configuration of components or the operation of a computer, computer system, computer network, or telecommunications network, and would allow unauthorized access to or unlawful disruption of a computer, computer system, computer network, or telecommunications network, of a public governmental body. This exception shall not be used to limit or deny access to otherwise public records in a file, document, data file or database containing public records. Records related to the procurement of or expenditures relating to such computer, computer system, computer network, or telecommunications network, including the amount of moneys paid by, or on behalf of, a public governmental body for such computer, computer system, computer network, or telecommunications network, shall be open except to the extent provided in this section; and

( 2021)    Credit card numbers, personal identification numbers, digital certificates, physical and virtual keys, access codes or authorization codes that are used to protect the security of electronic transactions between a public governmental body and a person or entity doing business with a public governmental body. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to close the record of a person or entity using a credit card held in the name of a public governmental body or any record of a transaction made by a person using a credit card or other method of payment for which reimbursement is made by a public governmental body.

Sec. 2-25.4. Availability of public records.

    (a)      Each public governmental body is to appoint a custodian who is to be responsible for the maintenance of that body's records. The identity and location of a public governmental body's custodian is to be made available upon request. The city clerk shall be the custodian of the city council's records.

     (b)    Each department head shall be the custodian of the department’s records unless the department head appoints one or more record custodians and notifies the city clerk of each appointment.

     (c)    The head of each city office or department responsible for staffing a city board, commission, committee, task force or similar group shall be the record custodian of the group’s records unless the head of the office or department appoints another person to serve as record custodian and notifies the city clerk of the appointment.

     (d)    The city clerk shall maintain a complete list of the identity, location and telephone number of each record custodian for each city department, board, commission, committee, task force and similar group.

    ( be)     Each public governmental body shall make available for inspection and copying by the public of that body's public records. No person shall remove original public records from the office of a public governmental body or its custodian without written permission of the designated custodian.

    ( cf)     Each request for access to a public record shall be acted upon as soon as possible, but in no event later than the end of the third business day following the date that the request is received by the custodian of records of a public governmental body.  If records are requested in a certain format, the public body shall provide the records in the requested format, if such format is available.  If access to the public record is not granted immediately, the custodian shall give a detailed explanation of the cause for further delay and the place and earliest time and date that the record will be available for inspection. This period for document production may exceed three (3) days for reasonable cause.

    ( dg)     If a request for access is denied, the custodian shall provide, upon request, a written statement on the grounds of such denial. Such statement, shall cite the specific provision of law under which access is denied and shall be furnished to the requester no later than the end of the third business day following the date that the request for the statement is received.

Sec. 2-25.5. Fees.

    (a)     Except as otherwise provided by law, each public governmental body shall provide access to and, upon request, furnish copies of public records subject to the following:

    (1)    Fees for copying public records shall not exceed ten (10) cents per page for a paper copy not larger than nine (9) by fourteen (14) inches, with the hourly fee for duplicating time not to exceed the average hourly rate of pay for clerical staff of the city.  Research time required for fulfilling records requests may be charged at the actual cost of research time.  Based on the scope of the request, the city shall produce the copies using employees that result in the lowest amount of charges for search, research and duplication time.  Prior to producing copies of the requested records, the person requesting the records may request the city to provide an estimate of the cost to the person requesting the records the actual cost of document search and duplication. Upon request, the public governmental body shall certify in writing that the actual cost of document search and duplication is fair, reasonable and does not exceed the actual cost incurred by the public governmental body. Documents may be furnished without charge or at a reduced charge when the public governmental body determines that waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the public governmental body and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

    (2)    Fees for providing access to public records maintained on computer facilities, recording tapes or discs disks, video tapes or films, pictures, maps, slides, graphics, illustrations or similar audio or visual items or devices, and for paper copies larger than nine (9) by fourteen (14) inches shall include only the cost of copies, staff time which shall not exceed the average hourly rate of pay for staff of the city required for making copies and programming, if necessary, and the cost of the disk, or tape or other medium used for the duplication.  Fees for maps, blueprints, or plats that require special expertise to duplicate may include the actual rate of compensation for the trained personnel required to duplicate such maps, blueprints or plats.  If programming is required beyond the customary and usual level to comply with a request for records or information, the fees for compliance may include the actual cost of such programming.

    (b)    Payment of such copying fees may be requested prior to the making of copies.


    SECTION 2.  This ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage.

    PASSED this 20th day of September, 2004.