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616: Access To Records

As Amended Effective December 7, 2005;
As Amended Effective October 11, 2006;
As Amended Effective February 11, 2009
[page 1 of 1]

Contents:

Sec.

§616.1 Purpose and Scope

(a) The people's right to know the process of government decision making and the documents and statistics leading to determinations is basic to our society. Access to such information should not be thwarted by shrouding it with the cloak of secrecy or confidentiality.

(b) This Part provides information concerning the procedures by which records including but not limited to reports, statements, examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photos, letters, microfilms, computer tapes or disks, electronic records, videos, rules, regulations and codes may be obtained.

(c) Department personnel shall furnish to the public the information and records required by the Freedom of Information Law, as well as records otherwise available by law.

(d) Any conflicts among laws governing public access to records shall be construed in favor of the widest possible availability of public records.

§616.2 Designation of Records Access Officer

(a)

(1) The Commissioner of Environmental Conservation is responsible for ensuring compliance with this Part. The commissioner designates the following person to coordinate these efforts: Records Access Officer, Department of Environmental Conservation.

(2) The records access officer shall coordinate the response to public requests for access to records. However, the public shall not be denied access to records through officials who have in the past been authorized to make records or information available.

(b) The records access officer is responsible for ensuring that department personnel:

(1) maintain an up-to-date subject matter list;

(2) assist the requester in identifying requested records, if necessary;

(3) upon locating the records, take one of the following actions:

(i) make records promptly available for inspection; or

(ii) deny access to the records in whole or in part and explain in writing the reasons therefor;

(4) upon request for copies of records:

(i) make a copy available upon payment or offer to pay established fees, if any; or

(ii) permit the requester to copy those records;

(5) upon request, certify that a record is a true copy;

(6) upon failure to locate records, certify that:

(i) the Department of Environmental Conservation is not the custodian for such records; or

(ii) the records of which the Department of Environmental Conservation is a custodian cannot be found after diligent search.

(7) notify requester that the records sought cannot be retrieved by use of the description provided without extraordinary search methods being employed by the Department.

(c) The Department's Chief Administrative Law Judge shall be the coordinator responsible for reviewing and responding to all Freedom of Information Law requests under this Part for records that are in the custody of the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services ("OHMS"). The Assistant Commissioner for OHMS shall be the FOIL Appeals Officer on any appeal that is taken from a determination of the Chief Administrative Law Judge. Appeals from such determinations shall be sent to:

Assistant Commissioner, Office of Hearings and Mediation Services
Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-1010
Telephone number: (518) 402-8537

§616.3 Location of Records

Records shall be available for public inspection and copying in the following locations:

(a) Central office.

Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-1500

(b) Regional offices.

(1) Region 1 Headquarters
Department of Environmental Conservation
SUNY Campus @ Stony Brook
50 Circle Road
Stony Brook, NY 11790-3409

(2) Region 2 Headquarters
Department of Environmental Conservation
1 Hunters Point Plaza
47-40 21st Street
Long Island City, NY 11101-5407

(3) Region 3 Headquarters
Department of Environmental Conservation
21 South Putt Corners Road
New Paltz, NY 12561-1696

(4) Region 4 Headquarters
Department of Environmental Conservation
1130 Westcott Road
Schenectady, NY 12306-2014

(5) Region 5 Headquarters
Department of Environmental Conservation
1115 NYS Route 86
P.O. Box 296
Ray Brook, NY 12977-0296

(6) Region 6 Headquarters
Department of Environmental Conservation
317 Washington Street
Watertown, NY 13601-3787

(7) Region 7 Headquarters
Department of Environmental Conservation
615 Erie Boulevard West
Syracuse, NY 13204-2400

(8) Region 8 Headquarters
Department of Environmental Conservation
6274 East Avon - Lima Road
Avon, NY 14414-9519

(9) Region 9 Headquarters
Department of Environmental Conservation
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14203-2999

(c) Regional suboffices.

(1) Region 3 White Plains Suboffice
Department of Environmental Conservation
100 Hillside Avenue, Suite 1W
White Plains, NY 10603-2860

(2) Region 4 Stamford Suboffice
Department of Environmental Conservation
65561 State Highway 10
Suite 1
Stamford, NY 12167-9503

(3) Region 5 Warrensburg Suboffice
Department of Environmental Conservation
232 Golf Course Road
P.O. Box 220
Warrensburg, NY 12885

(4) Region 5 Northville Suboffice
Department of Environmental Conservation
701 South Main Street
P.O. Box 1316
Northville, NY 12134

(5) Region 6 Utica Suboffice
Department of Environmental Conservation
State Office Building, 207 Genesee Street
Utica, NY 13501-2885

(6) Region 6 Herkimer Suboffice
Department of Environmental Conservation
225 North Main Street
Herkimer, NY 13350

(7) Region 6 Potsdam Suboffice
Department of Environmental Conservation
6739 US Highway 11
Potsdam, NY 13676

(8) Region 6 Lowville Suboffice
Department of Environmental Conservation
7327 State Route 812
Lowville, NY 13367

(9) Region 7 Cortland Suboffice
Department of Environmental Conservation
1285 Fisher Avenue
Cortland, NY 13045-1090

(10) Region 7 Sherburne Suboffice
Department of Environmental Conservation
2721 State Highway 80
Sherburne, NY 13460-0594

(11) Region 7 Kirkwood Suboffice
Department of Environmental Conservation
1679 NY Route 11
Kirkwood, NY 13795-9772

(12) Region 8 Bath Suboffice
Department of Environmental Conservation
7291 Coon Road
Bath, NY 14810

(13) Region 8 Horseheads Suboffice
Department of Environmental Conservation
276 Sing Sing Road, Suite 1
Horseheads, NY 14845

(14) Region 9 Falconer Suboffice
Department of Environmental Conservation
Town of Ellicott Building
215 South Work Street
Falconer, NY 14733

(15) Region 9 Belmont Suboffice
Department of Environmental Conservation
5425 County Route 48
Belmont, NY 14813

(16) Region 9 Allegany Suboffice
Department of Environmental Conservation
182 East Union Street
Suite 3
Allegany, NY 14706-1328

(d) The Department's internet address is http://www.dec.ny.gov/. This site contains information on the Department's services and programs. It includes a subject index and a search mechanism as well as links to related environmental programs and organizations.

§616.4 Hours for Public Inspection

Requests for public access to records shall be accepted and records shall be produced during all hours regularly open for business. These hours are: 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.

§616.5 Request for Public Access to Records

(a) A request for records must be in writing. Requests for records can be sent to the Department via regular mail at: Records Access Officer, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway, 14th Floor, Albany, New York 12233-1500 or via electronic mail at: foil@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

(b) A request shall reasonably describe the record or records sought. Whenever possible, a person requesting records should supply information regarding dates, file designations or other information that may help to describe the records sought.

(c) A response to a request which reasonably describes the record or records sought shall be made within five business days of receipt of the request. Where appropriate, the response shall include a statement that access to the record or records sought will be determined in accordance with section 616.7 of this Part.

(d) If the department does not provide or deny access to the record sought within five business days of receipt of a request, the department shall furnish a written acknowledgment of receipt of the request and a statement of the approximate date, which shall be reasonable under the circumstances of the request, when the request will be granted or denied, including, where appropriate, a statement that access to the record will be determined in accordance with section 616.7 of this Part. If the department determines to grant a request in whole or in part, and if circumstances prevent disclosure to the person requesting the record or records within twenty business days from the date of the acknowledgment of the receipt of the request, the agency shall state, in writing, both the reason for the inability to grant the request within twenty business days and a date certain within a reasonable period, depending on the circumstances, when the request will be granted in whole or in part. The department's failure to conform to these provisions shall constitute a denial of access to records subject to administrative appeal pursuant to section 616.8.

(e) No records may be removed by the requester from the office where the record is located without the permission of the supervisor responsible for origination of the record.

(f) If the Department has reasonable means available, the Department will respond to requests for records by electronic mail unless another form of response is requested.

(g) The Department shall provide records on the medium requested by a person, if the Department can reasonably make such a copy or have such copy made by engaging an outside professional service.

§616.6 Subject Matter List

(a) The department shall maintain a reasonably detailed current list, by subject matter, of all records in its possession, whether or not records are available pursuant to subdivision 2 of section 87 of the Public Officers Law.

(b) The subject matter list shall be sufficiently detailed to permit identification of the category of the record sought.

(c) The subject matter list shall be updated periodically, but not less than twice per year. The most recent update shall appear on the first page of the subject matter list.

§616.7 Records Containing Trade Secrets, Confidential Commercial Information, or Critical Infrastructure Information

(a) Submission of records containing trade secrets, confidential commercial information, or critical infrastructure information.

(1) A person acting pursuant to law or regulation who submits any information to the department may, at the time of submission request that the department except such information from disclosure under paragraph (d) of subdivision (2) of section 87 of the Public Officers Law, and may at any time, request that the department except such information from disclosure under paragraph (a)(1-a) of subdivision 5 of section 89 of the Public Officers Law. These sections provide that an agency may deny access to records or portions thereof that are trade secrets, confidential commercial information submitted to an agency by a commercial enterprise or derived from information obtained from a commercial enterprise and which if disclosed would cause substantial injury to the competitive position of the subject enterprise, or critical infrastructure information. Where the request itself contains information which if disclosed would defeat the purpose for which the exception is sought, such information shall also be excepted from disclosure.

(2) The request for an exception shall be in writing and state the reasons why the information should be excepted from disclosure.

(3) The person submitting the information shall clearly identify those records or portions of records for which the exception is requested. This may be accomplished by separating and attaching to such records a cover sheet or other suitable form of notice, using such language as "trade secret" or "confidential commercial information" or "critical infrastructure information."

(4) In all cases the person must show the reasons why the information should be considered to be related to critical infrastructure or to be a trade secret or information submitted to the department by a commercial enterprise or derived from information obtained from a commercial enterprise, and which, if disclosed would likely cause substantial injury to the competitive position of the subject enterprise.

(5) The person submitting the information may request an exception from disclosure for a limited period of time. If so, the person shall indicate that period of time when submitting the information.

(b) Safeguarding against unauthorized access to records containing trade secrets, confidential commercial information or critical infrastructure information.

(1) Information submitted as provided in subdivision (a) of this section shall be excepted from disclosure and be maintained apart by the department from all other records until 15 days after the entitlement to such exception has been finally determined by the department or such further time as ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction.

(2) Each of the department's division and/or regional directors or their designee shall be responsible for the custody of such records.

(3) Each departmental employee who has custody of records containing trade secrets, confidential commercial information or critical infrastructure information, shall take appropriate measures to safeguard such records and to protect against their unauthorized disclosure.

(4) Simple and effective devices to identify and maintain repositories for records containing trade secrets, confidential commercial information or critical infrastructure information, shall be used so that their security is maintained.

(c) Determination to grant or continue exception from disclosure.

(1) On the initiative of the department at any time, or upon the request of any person for a record excepted from disclosure as provided herein, the custodian of the responsive record shall:

(i) inform the person who requested the exception of the department's intention to determine whether such exception should be granted or continued;

(ii) permit the person who requested the exception, within 10 business days of receipt of notification from the department, to submit a written statement of the necessity for the granting or continuation of such exception; and

(iii) within seven business days of receipt of such written statement, or within seven business days of the expiration of the period prescribed for submission of such statement, issue a written determination granting, continuing or terminating such exception and stating the reasons therefor. Copies of such determination shall be served upon the person, if any, requesting the record, the person who requested the exception, and the Committee on Open Government.

(2) The following factors are among those the department may consider in making a determination to grant or continue an exception from disclosure under paragraph (d) of subdivision (2) of section 87 and paragraph (a)(1-a) of subdivision 5 of section 89 of the Public Officers Law:

(i)

(a) definition of a trade secret -- a trade secret may consist of, but shall not necessarily be limited to, any formula, pattern, process, procedure, plan, compound, or device that is not published or divulged and which gives an advantage over competitors who do not know, use or have access to such data or information;

(b) definition of confidential commercial information -- confidential commercial information may consist of customer lists, revenue, expense, or income information, or other compilations of information that is not published or divulged and which if disclosed would likely cause substantial injury to the competitive position of the subject enterprise;

(c) definition of critical infrastructure -- critical infrastructure means systems, assets, places or things, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the state that the disruption, incapacitation or destruction of such systems, assets, places or things could jeopardize the health, safety, welfare or security of the state, its residents or its economy.

(ii) the extent to which the information is known outside of the business of the person submitting the information;

(iii) the extent to which it is known by the person's employees and others involved in his business;

(iv) the extent of measures taken by the person to guard the secrecy of the information;

(v) the value of the information to the person and to his competitors;

(vi) the amount of effort or money expended by the person in developing the information; and

(vii) the ease or difficulty with which the information could be properly acquired or duplicated by others.

(d) Appeal of action by the department.

(1) A denial of an exception from disclosure under subdivision (a) of this section may be appealed by the person who requested the exception, and a denial of access to the record may be appealed by the person requesting the record in accordance with this section.

(i) Within seven business days of receipt of written notice denying the request, the person may file a written appeal from the determination of the department with the appeals officer designated in section 616.8 of this Part.

(ii) The appeal shall be determined within 10 business days of the receipt of the appeal. Written notice of the determination shall be served upon the person, if any, requesting the record, the person who requested the exception and the Committee on Open Government. The notice shall contain a statement of the reasons for the determination.

(2) A proceeding to review a determination adverse to a person requesting an exception from disclosure pursuant to this subdivision may be commenced pursuant to article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules. Such proceeding must be commenced within 15 days of the service of the written notice containing the adverse determination provided for in subparagraph (1)(ii) of this subdivision.

(e) The determination of any claims relating to trade secrets, confidential commercial information or critical infrastructure information that arise in a proceeding pursuant to 6 NYCRR Part 622 or 6 NYCRR Part 624 are reserved to the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services and the Commissioner.

§616.8 Denial of Access to Records; Appeals

(a) Denial of access shall be in writing, stating the reasons therefor pursuant to the exceptions set forth in Public Officers Law section 87(2) and advising the person denied access of the right to appeal to the FOIL Appeals Officer.

(b) If the department fails to respond to a request within five business days of receipt of a request, as required in subdivision (a) of this section, such failure shall be deemed a denial of access.

(c) Except as provided in section 616.7 of this Part, any person denied access to records may appeal within 30 days of a denial.

(d) Except as provided in section 616.2(c), the following person shall hear appeals under the Freedom of Information Law for the denial of access to records, and shall have the authority to delegate all or part of the decision making authority of the FOIL Appeals Officer, when deemed appropriate and/or necessary:

FOIL Appeals Officer
Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-1500
Telephone number: (518) 402-9522

(e) The time for deciding an appeal by the FOIL Appeals Officer shall commence upon receipt of written appeal identifying:

(1) The date and location of requests for records;

(2) The records that were denied; and

(3) The name and return address of the appellant.

(f) The department shall transmit to the Committee on Open Government copies of all appeals upon receipt of an appeal. Such copies shall be addressed to:

Committee on Open Government
Department of State
One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12231

(g) The FOIL Appeals Officer, or as provided in section 616.2(c) the assistant commissioner for OHMS, shall inform the appellant and the Committee on Open Government of the determination, in writing, within 10 business days of receipt of an appeal. Failure by the department to conform to this requirement shall constitute a denial of records.

(h) Except as provided in section 616.7 of this Part, the FOIL Appeals Officer, or where applicable the assistant commissioner for OHMS, in making a final denial of access to a requested record, as provided for in subdivision (g) of this section, shall inform the requester of the right to court review as provided for in article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.

(i) With respect to appeals from records in the custody of OHMS, the Assistant Commissioner for OHMS shall serve as FOIL Appeals Officer.

§616.9 Fees

(a) There shall be no fee charged for:

(1) inspection of records.

(2) search for records.

(3) any certification pursuant to this Part.

(b) There shall be fees charged as follows:

(1) A fee of 25 cents per page for each copy not exceeding 9 by 14 inches in size for reproductions made on copying machines.

(2) A fee equal to the actual cost of reproducing any other records.

(3) To determine the actual cost of reproducing records, the department may include only:

(i) an amount equal to the hourly salary attributed to the lowest paid agency employee who has the necessary skill required to prepare a copy of the requested records;

(ii) the actual cost of the storage devices or media provided to the person making the request in complying with such request;

(iii) the actual cost to the agency of engaging an outside professional service to prepare a copy of a record, but only when an agency's information technology equipment is inadequate to prepare a copy, if such service is used to prepare the copy; and

(iv) preparing a copy shall not include search time or administrative costs, and no fee shall be charged unless at least two hours of agency employee time is needed to prepare a copy of the record requested. A person requesting a record shall be informed of the estimated cost of preparing a copy of the record if more than two hours of an agency employee's time is needed, or if an outside professional service would be retained to prepare a copy of the record.

§616.10 Severability

If any provision of this Part or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is adjudged invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such judgment shall not affect or impair the validity of the other provisions of this Part or the application thereof to other persons and circumstances.

§616.20 Purpose and Scope

(a) It is the responsibility and the intent of the Department of Environmental Conservation to fully comply with the provisions of article 6-A of the Public Officers Law, the Personal Privacy Protection Law.

(b) These regulations provide information regarding the procedures by which members of the public may assert rights granted by the Personal Privacy Protection Law. Specifically, they set forth:

(1) procedures by which an individual can learn if a system of records contains any records pertaining to him or her;

(2) reasonable times, places and means for verifying the identity of an individual who requests access to his or her record;

(3) procedures for providing access, upon the individual's request, to the individual's record; and

(4) procedures for reviewing a request from an individual for access to, and for correction or amendment of, his or her record, for making a determination on such request, and for an appeal within the agency of an initial adverse agency determination.

§616.21 Designation of Privacy Compliance Officer

(a) The records access officer is hereby designated privacy compliance officer, and is responsible for ensuring that the department complies with the provisions of the Personal Privacy Protection Law and with these regulations.

(b) The address of the privacy compliance officer is:

Records Access Officer
Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-1500

(c) The privacy compliance officer shall coordinate the response to individuals' requests for access to records which contain personal information. Individuals may also seek access to records containing personal information from department officials who have been authorized to make such records available.

(d) The privacy compliance officer is responsible for:

(1) assisting an individual in identifying and requesting personal information, if necessary;

(2) describing the contents of systems of records orally or in writing in order to enable an individual to learn if a system of records includes a record or personal information identifiable to an individual requesting such record or personal information; and

(3) ensuring that departmental personnel take one of the following actions upon locating the record sought:

(i) make the record available for inspection, in a printed form without codes or symbols, unless an accompanying document explaining such codes or symbols is also provided;

(ii) permit the individual to copy the record;

(iii) deny access to the record in whole or in part and explain in writing the reasons therefor;

(iv) make a copy available upon request, upon payment of or offer to pay established fees, if any, or permit the individual to copy the record;

(v) upon request, certify that a copy of the record is a true copy; or

(vi) certify, upon request, that:

(a) the department does not have possession of the record sought;

(b) the department cannot locate the record sought after having made a diligent search; or

(c) the information sought cannot be retrieved by use of the description thereof, or by use of the name or other identifier of the individual without extraordinary search methods being employed by the department.

(e) The privacy compliance officer will inform department personnel of their duties pursuant to subdivision 1 of section 94 of the Personal Privacy Protection Act of the Public Officers Law as follows:

(1) to maintain personal information only when it is relevant and necessary to accomplish the purposes of the department in a secure manner and whenever practicable to collect the data from the data subject;

(2) to provide notification to the data subject in accordance with paragraph 94(1)(d) of section 94 of the Public Officers Law when personal information is sought; and

(3) to keep records of the date, nature and purpose of each disclosure of a personal record and to whom the disclosure was made and retain this information for five years or for the life of the record, whichever is longer.

§616.22 Proof of Identity

(a) When a request is made in person, or when records are made available in person following a request made by mail, the department may require appropriate identification, such as a driver license, an identifier assigned to the individual by the department, a photograph or similar information that confirms that the record sought pertains to the individual.

(b) When a request is made by mail, the department may require verification of a signature or inclusion of an identifier generally known only by an individual, or similar appropriate identification.

(c) Proof of identity shall not be required regarding a request for a record accessible to the public pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law (article 6 of the Public Officers Law).

§616.23 Location of Records

Records shall be made available at the main office of the department, and whenever practicable at a regional office convenient to the requester. The addresses for these locations are listed in section 616.3 of this Part.

§616.24 Hours for Public Inspection and Copying

The department shall accept requests for records and produce records during regular business hours, which are 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

§616.25 Requests for Records

(a) All requests or voluntary consents shall be made in writing.

(b) A request shall reasonably describe the record sought and, if by someone other than the data subject, must state the uses which will be made of such personal information. Whenever possible, the individual should supply identifying information that assists the department in locating the records sought.

(c) Other than the data subject, other parties that may have access to personal records are officers, employees or contractors of the department if such disclosure is necessary to perform their duties and to those parties and for the uses set forth in paragraphs (b) through (n) of section 96 of the Personal Privacy Protection Act of the Public Officers Law.

(d) Requests based upon categories of information described in a notice of a system of records or a privacy impact statement shall be deemed to reasonably describe the record sought. (Such notices and statements provide information about the department's maintenance and use of records containing personal information.)

(e) Within five business days of the receipt of a request, the department shall:

(1) provide access to the record;

(2) deny access in writing, explaining the reasons therefor; or (3) acknowledge the receipt of the request in writing, stating the approximate date when the request will be granted or denied. This date shall not exceed 30 business days from the date of the acknowledgment.

(f) Nothing in this part shall require disclosure of personal information which is otherwise prohibited by law from being disclosed.

§616.26 Correction or Amendment of Records

Within 30 business days of a request from an individual for correction or amendment of a record or personal information that is reasonably described and that pertains to the individual, the department shall:

(a) make the correction or amendment in whole or in part, and inform the individual that, on request, such correction or amendment will be provided to any person or governmental unit to which the record or personal information has been or is disclosed pursuant to paragraph (d), (i) or (l) of subdivision 1 of section 96 of the Public Officers Law (which paragraphs pertain to disclosures to other governmental units, to disclosures based upon circumstances affecting the health or safety of an individual, and to disclosures to certain public safety agencies); or

(b) inform the individual in writing of its refusal to correct or amend the record, including the reasons therefor.

§616.27 Denial of a Request for a Record or Correction or Amendment of a Record or Personal Information

(a) Denial of a request for records or correction or amendment of a record or personal information shall be in writing:

(1) explaining the reasons therefor; and

(2) identifying the person to whom an appeal may be directed. (b) A failure to grant or deny access to records within five business days of the receipt of a request or within 30 days of an acknowledgment of the receipt of a request, or a failure to respond to a request for correction or amendment of a record within 30 business days of receipt of such a request, shall be construed as a denial that may be appealed.

§616.28 Appeal

(a) Any person denied access to a record or denied a request to correct or amend a record or personal information pursuant to section 616.27 of this Part may, within 30 business days of such denial, appeal to the FOIL Appeals Officer as provided in section 616.8 of this Part, except for such records that are in the custody of OHMS, the Assistant Commissioner for OHMS shall serve as the FOIL Appeals Officer.

(b) The time for deciding an appeal shall commence upon receipt of an appeal that identifies:

(1) the date and location of a request for a record or correction or amendment of a record or personal information;

(2) the record that is the subject of the appeal; and

(3) the name and return address of the appellant.

(c) Within seven business days of an appeal of a denial of access, or within 30 business days of an appeal concerning a denial of a request for correction or amendment, the person determining such appeals shall:

(1) provide access to, or correct or amend, the record or personal information; or

(2) fully explain in writing the factual and statutory reasons for further denial, and inform the individual of the right to seek judicial review of such determination pursuant to article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.

(d) If, on appeal, a record or personal information is corrected or amended, the individual shall be informed that, on request, the correction or amendment will be provided to any person or governmental unit to which the record or personal information has been or is disclosed, pursuant to paragraph (d), (i) or (l) of subdivision 1 of section 96 of the Public Officers Law (which paragraphs pertain to disclosures to other governmental units, to disclosures based upon circumstances affecting the health or safety of an individual, and to disclosures to certain public safety agencies).

(e) The department shall immediately forward to the Committee on Open Government a copy of any appeal made pursuant to this Part, the determination thereof and the reasons therefor.

§616.29 Statement of Disagreement by an Individual

(a) If correction or amendment of a record or personal information is denied, in whole or in part, upon appeal, the determination rendered pursuant to the appeal shall inform the individual of the right to:

(1) file with the department a statement of reasonable length setting forth the individual's reasons for disagreement with the determination; and

(2) request that such a statement of disagreement be provided to any person or governmental unit to which the record has been or is disclosed pursuant to paragraph (d), (i) or (l) of subdivision 1 of section 96 of the Public Officers Law (which paragraphs pertain to disclosures to other governmental units, to disclosures based upon circumstances affecting the health or safety of an individual, and to disclosures to certain public safety agencies).

(b) Upon receipt of a statement of disagreement by an individual, the department shall:

(1) clearly note any portions of the record that are disputed; and

(2) attach the individual's statement as part of the record.

(c) When providing an individual's statement of disagreement to a person or governmental unit in conjunction with a disclosure made pursuant to paragraph (d), (i) or (l) of subdivision 1 of section 96 of the Public Officers Law, the department may also include a concise statement of its reasons for not making the requested amendment or correction.

§616.30 Fees

(a) Unless otherwise prescribed by statute, there shall be no fee charged for:

(1) inspection of records;

(2) search for records; or

(3) any certification pursuant to this Part.

(b) Unless otherwise prescribed by statute, copies of records shall be provided:

(1) at a rate of 25 cents per photocopy up to 9 by 14 inches; or

(2) upon payment of the actual cost of reproduction, if the record or personal information cannot be photocopied.

(c) The actual cost of reproduction shall be based upon the average unit cost for copying a record, whatever the medium, excluding fixed costs of the department such as operator salaries and overhead.

§616.31 Severability

If any provisions of this Part or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is adjudged invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such judgment shall not affect or impair the validity of the other provisions of this Part or the application thereof to other persons and circumstances.