Sample Georgia Open Records Request
NOTE: This document is for requesting traditional documents. If you are requesting documents in electronic format, please change the wording to state that you want your record in an electronic format or that you would like to be notified when they will be available for you to reproduce using your own electronic device. (Some of these are new changes. You may have some push back in the jurisdiction so be sure to inform them that you are aware of the changes in the law).
Also, keep a copy of the signed letter you send and any postal receipts, facsimile transmittal confirmation sheets, etc., in case they are needed as an exhibit in a legal action to enforce the Open Records Act.
[YOUR NAME OR LETTERHEAD]
OPEN RECORDS ACT REQUEST
[DATE GOES HERE]
[AGENCY CONTACT PERSON]
[AGENCY STREET ADDRESS]
To Whom It May Concern:
This is a public record request for a duplicate copy of [SPECIFY DOCUMENTS BY NAME OR DESCRIPTION], with the exception of those portions specifically exempted by Georgia law.
As you know, the Georgia Open Records Act states reasonable charges may be assessed “for search, retrieval, and other direct administrative costs for complying with a request under this Code section. The hourly charge shall not exceed the salary of the lowest paid full-time employee who, in the discretion of the custodian of the records, has the necessary skill and training to perform the request; provided, however, that no charge shall be made for the first quarter hour.” O.C.G.A. § 50-18-71(d).
I am prepared to pay reasonable search and retrieval fees if necessary. As you know, advance payment is not required under the Act. O.C.G.A. § 50-18-71(g). Instead, once documents are requested, charges for all costs incurred by your agency can be collected in the same manner as taxes due. O.C.G.A. § 50-18-71(g).
In order to make such a fee request, however, your agency must first notify me of the estimated cost of the copying, search, retrieval and other authorized fees before they are incurred. O.C.G.A. § 50-18-71.2.
If my request is denied in whole or in part, the law requires your agency to justify all deletions by reference to exemptions of the Georgia Open Records Act, specifying code section, subsection and paragraph. O.C.G.A. § 50-18-72(h). The law also requires you to release all segregable portions of otherwise exempt material. O.C.G.A. § 50-18-72(g).
Also, the Open Records Act sets for any person who fails to provide a requested public document within three (3) business days, unless there are out-of-the-ordinary extenuating circumstances. O.C.G.A. § 50-18-74. Therefore, I will expect your agency to produce the requested records within the three-day limit or give written reasons why not, and the specific date the records will be available. O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70(f)
Thank you for your assistance. Should your have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at [YOUR TELEPHONE PHONE NUMBER] or via email at [YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS].
Fax: [YOUR FAX NUMBER]