RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING
ACCESS TO PUBLIC INFORMATION
DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION
1.1 Title 38, Chapter 2 of the Rhode Island General
Laws as amended, entitled Access to Public Records.
1.2 Section 42-11-2 entitled Powers and Duties of the Department.
2.1 To establish rules and regulations to fully implement Chapter 2 of Title 38 concerning access to public
records held by the Department of Administration.
2.2 To identify and safeguard categories of records exempt from disclosure; and
2.3 To provide Department of Administration personnel and the public with regulations and procedures for
public records access.
is the policy of the Department of Administration
that its files and records shall be available for
inspection by members of the public to the fullest
extent possible and consistent with:
- the Department's responsibility to pursue effectively
its regulatory and other official activities.
- the rights of individuals to privacy,
- the rights of persons and legal entities to confidential
treatment of proprietary information, and
- the need of the Department for frank, unimpeded
internal policy deliberations.
- PUBLIC RECORDS DEFINED
4.1 "Public record" or "public records" shall mean all
documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs,
films, sound recordings, or other material regardless
of physical form or characteristics made or received
pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the
transaction of official business by any agency, subject
to the exemptions listed in 38-2-2(d).
4.2 The statement of purpose of the Access to Public
Records Law indicates that while the intent of the law
is to facilitate public access to governmental records,
it also intends to protect from disclosure information
about particular individuals maintained in department
files when such disclosure would constitute an unwarranted
invasion of personal privacy.
5.1 All files and records of the Department are available
for public inspection and copying unless they are specifically
exempted by these regulations or their disclosure is
prohibited by state or federal law, or by order of a
court of competent jurisdiction.
The following categories of files and records, or information
in such files and records of the Department are specifically
exempt from disclosure:
- All records which are identifiable to an individual
applicant for benefits, clients, patient, student
or employee; including, but not limited to, personnel,
medical treatment, welfare, employment security,
and pupil records and all records relating to a
client/attorney relationship and to a doctor/patient
relationship and all personal or medical information
relating to an individual in any files, including
information relating to medical or psychological
facts, personal finances, welfare, employment security,
student performance, or information in personnel
files maintained to hire, evaluate, promote or
discipline any employee of the Department; provided,
however, with respect to employees, the name, gross
salary, salary range, total cost of paid fringe
benefits, gross amount received in overtime and
other remuneration in addition to salary, job title,
job description, dates of employment and positions
held with the state, work location, business telephone
number, the city or town of residence and date
of termination shall be public. RIGL
- Trade secrets and commercial or financial information
obtained from a person, firm, or corporation, which
is of a privileged or confidential nature.
- Any records which would not be available by law
or rule of court to an opposing party in litigation.
- Reports and statements of strategy or negotiation
involving labor negotiations or collective bargaining.
- Any minutes of a meeting which are not required
to be disclosed pursuant to chapter 46 of title
- Preliminary drafts, notes, impressions, memoranda,
working papers and work products.
- Test questions, scoring keys and other examination
data used to administer a licensing examination,
examination for employment or promotion or academic
examinations provided, however, that a person shall
have the right to review the results of his or
- Correspondence of or to elected officials with
or related to those they represent, and correspondence
of or to elected officials in their official capacities.
- The contents of real estate appraisals, engineering
or feasibility estimates and evaluations made for
or by an agency relative to the acquisition of
property or to prospecive public supply and construction
projects, until such time as all of the property
has been acquired or all proceedings or transactions
have been terminated or abandoned, provided by
law of eminent domain shall not be affected bt
- All tax returns.
- All investigatory records of public bodies pertaining
to possible violations of statute, rule or regulation
other than records of final actions taken provided
that all records prior to noncompliance shall not
be deemed to be public.
- Records of individual test scores on professional
certification and licensing examinations, provided,
however, that a person shall have the right to
review the results of his or her examination.
- Requests for advisory opinions until such time
as the Department issues its opinion.
- Records, reports, opinions, information and statements
required to be kept confidential by federal or
state rule or court, or regulation or state statute.
- Reports and statements of strategy or negotiation
with respect to the investment or borrowing of
public funds, until such time as those transactions
are entered into.
- All other specfically exempt records, as described
38-2 and amendments thereto.
- COMMERCIAL USE OF PUBLIC RECORDS
6.1 No person or business entity shall use information
obtained from public records pursuant to this regulation
to solicit for commercial purposes or to obtain a commercial
advantage over the party furnishing that information
to the Department.
6.2 Anyone who, knowingly and willfully, violates the
provision of this section, shall, in addition to any
civil liability, be punished by a fine of not more than
five hundred dollars ($500.00) and/or imprisonment for
no longer than one year. (38-2-7).
- DISCLOSURE AND NONDISCLOSABLE INFORMATION
If a record contains both disclosable and nondisclosable
information, the disclosable portion will be released
unless that portion cannot reasonably be segregated from
the rest of such record, in which case the record will
not be disclosed.
- PROCEDURE FOR REQUESTING PUBLIC INFORMATION
8.1 A request for inspection of copying of public records
shall be presented, in writing, to the appropriate division
of the Department during the ordinary business hours
of the Department, on forms provided by the Department.
The request must reasonably describe the records to be
sought in a way that will permit their identification
and location by Department personnel. At the discretion
of the Director, the Deputy Director, the Associate Directors,
the State Personnel Administrator, or the Department's
Legal Counsel, the requirements of a formal request may
be waived. A written record of al requests shall be maintained
within each division.
8.2 If the description of records sought in the request
is not sufficient to allow the Department to identify
and locate the requested records, the Department will
notify the individual requesting the information that
additional information is needed.
8.3 The Department will make every reasonable effort
to honor the request within the ten (10) working days
of receipt of the form as specified herein.
8.4 Failure to comply with a request to inspect or copy
the public record within the ten (10) business day period
shall be deemed a denial. For good cause, this limit
may be extended for a period not to exceed thirty (30)
8.5 Nothing herein shall be construed as requiring the
Department to reorganize, consolidate, or compile data
not otherwise maintained by the Department in the form
requested. If records requested directly relate to a
departmental employee, prior to turning those documents
over to the person requesting such, the Department will
provide five (5) days prior written notice of the request
to the employee. Such notice shall not extend the period
within which the Department must respond to a requestor.
8.6 If a requested record is in active use or in storage
and, therefore, not available at the time the record
is requested, the requestor shall be so informed. The
custodian of the record shall make an appointment for
the requestor to examine such records as expeditiously
as they may be made available. In no case shall the time
of examination exceed thirty (30) days from the orginal
- HOURS OF INSPECTION
All records made available pursuant to these regulations
may be inspected during the normal business hours of
the Department. The Director may restrict access to specified
times and days, consistent with these Rules, if it is
determined that this is necessary or appropriate to prevent
unnecessary disruption of the Department's work.
- APPEALS PROCESS
10.1 If the record is not made available for inspection,
the requestor will be notified of the reason(s) for denial
within ten (10) business days of the request. Failure
to comply with a request to so inspect or copy such a
public record within the ten (10) day period shall be
deemed a denial. The person requesting such will also
be informed that he or she may appeal the denial to the
Director of Administration.
10.2 If an appeal is made to the Director of Administration
and a denial is upheld, the appellant will be informed
of the reason(s) within ten (10) business days after
the submission of the review petition.
10.3 If the Director approves of the record's disclosure
to the requestor, the Director's office will arrange
for a time and place for the inspection of the record.
10.4 If the Director denies an appeal, the appellant
may file a complaint with the Attorney General or may
retain private counsel for the purpose of instituting
proceedings for injunctive or declaratory relief in the
Superior Court of the County where the record is maintained.
11.1 Official publications which the Department prepares
in the discharge of its duty to inform the public on
matters of general public interest shall be furnished
free of charge when available.
11.2 The Department will supply one (1) copy of its
rules and regulations to an individual requesting same
free of charge. Rules and regulations of the Department
are also on file at the Office of the Secretary of State
and certified copies thereof may be obtained from that
11.3 The Department may charge a fee of fifteen cents
(.15) per page and an hourly rate of fifteen dollars
($15.00) for time spent searching and copying all other
public records, as defined herein. If the time spent
on such searching and copying is less than thirty (30)
minutes no fee for search and retrieval shall be charged.
Copies on paper larger than 8.5" x 14", or made available
on media different than that on which the information
is stored, will be charged at the actual production and/or
11.4 All payments for copies of records shall be paid
in advance of delivery in the form of cash, a money order,
corporate or business check, cashier or treasurer's check
payable to General Treasurer, State of Rhode Island.
11.5 The Department will inform the person requesting
the record of the approximate cost which will be incurred.
- SUPERVISION OF INSPECTION
12.1 Without regard for the location(s) selected for
the public's inspection of records, the inspection will
be accomplished in a manner which will provide for general
supervision by authorized staff. This is necessary to
prevent unauthorized removal of records or other actions
which would destroy the integrity of the record.
12.2 The section head in charge of the activity related
to the public record shall have overall responsibility
for the security of the public record. However, the section
head may designate a staff person to coordinate the functions
and responsibilities for the public's inspection of records.
12.3 All personnel dealing with the public are to be
made aware, by their section heads, of the procedures
established for public inspection of records and shall
direct inquiries to:
12.3.1 The section head of the activity/function to
which the public record requested relates or,
12.3.2 In the event that the public record cannot
be categorized as falling within a specific section
head's responsibility, the inquirer shall be directed
to the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department which
will serve as a resource in matters relating to the
public's inspection of records.
If any provision of these rules and regulations or the
application thereof to any person or circumstances shall
be held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the
provisions or application of the rules and regulations
which can be given effect, and to this end the provisions
of these rules and regulations are declared to be severalbe.
Department of Administration