This page contains questions and answers that frequently come up when Public Records Requests are made.
Do I have to use the public records form?
Yes, the City requires the FOIA request form be filled out for record keeping purposes.
What is a “record”?
"Records" include any writing prepared, owned, used or retained by the City in the conduct of its official business, regardless of its physical form or characteristics. Writings include information recorded or stored on paper, computers, e-mail, or audio or visual tapes.
What information should I provide in making a public records request?
Requesters should provide as much specific information about the records as possible. If a request is not sufficiently specific, City staff may need to contact the requester to further identify the information sought.
What records are exempt from disclosure?
Occasionally, the law precludes the disclosure of records or provides an exemption from mandatory disclosure. Examples of records exempt from mandatory disclosure under West Virginia State Code 29B-1-4 include: certain personnel records, investigative records, drafts, confidential legal advice, trade secrets, records prepared in connection with litigation, and information that may be kept confidential pursuant to other state or federal statutes. For the full list, please see the City's FOIA policy.
How do I inspect public records?
Because many requests require the retrieval, review, or redaction of records, requesters will be called to establish a mutually agreeable time for inspection of records. In certain cases, the City may be able to provide records in an electronic format.
Are there any fees associated with making a public records request?
There is no fee for making a public records request. The City may, however, charge for the cost of duplication if a requester wishes to have a physical copy of records (currently 25 cents per page for a black & white copy). When the City must compile electronic data, extract information from an electronic record, or undertake computer programming to satisfy a request, the requester may be required to bear the full costs, including staff time, not just the direct cost of duplication. City staff will contact a requester before taking any action that will result in fees.
How long will it take to receive a response?
As a rule, the City of Bridgeport responds to all requests for information as quickly as possible. However, it may not always be possible to fill requests for public records right away because records need to be reviewed first to see if they contain confidential information. Despite this, the City of Bridgeport strives to respond to public records requests within 5 working days. However, if the request is very large in scope, spans multiple departments or requires additional preparation or review, it may require more time to process. If so, you will be notified.
How long does the City of Bridgeport keep records?
The City retains records in accordance with the Records Retention Schedule, which specifies how long each record type is stored. The Records Retention Schedule is located in the City Clerk's Office.