Guidelines for Access to Public Records

INTRODUCTION

The records of the Public Employment Relations Board are public records subject to disclosure under California’s Public Records Act (Government Code section 6250 et seq).

It is PERB’s policy to provide all members of the public convenient access to its records and to promptly make the fullest possible disclosure of its records. PERB staff are available to assist persons requesting records to make focused and effective requests that reasonably describe identifiable records.

California’s Public Records Act contains several exemptions from disclosure and incorporates several other statutes that prohibit State employees from disclosing certain types of public records. Examples of exemptions include but are not limited to (i) personnel files and, in appropriate situations, the social security nubmers, drivers license numbers, home telephone numbers, and home addresses of individuals (Gov. Code, §§ 6254(c)); (ii) records related to pending litigation (Gov. Code, § 6254(b)); (iii) preliminary drafts, notes, or inter- or intraagency memoranda that are not retained by PERB in the ordinary course of business (Gov. Code, § 6254(a)); and (iv) any other records the disclosure of which is prohibited or exempted under federal or California laws (e.g., confidential attorney-client communications and attorney work-product (Gov. Code, § 6254(k)).

 The Public Records Act also establishes reasonable procedures for prompt disclosure while allowing State agencies the time to locate records and determine which records, if any, are exempt from disclosure. (See Gov. Code, § 6253.)

Whether a request to review records is made in person, by mail, or by other means, it may be necessary for staff to review the requested records to determine whether exemptions apply before the records can be made available for viewing or copies can be provided.

REQUESTS TO VIEW PUBLIC RECORDS

Public records may be reviewed at PERB offices weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding holidays. Persons interested in viewing public records are encouraged to make an appointment in advance. PERB files may be housed at PERB Headquarters (Sacramento), in one of PERB’s regional offices (San Francisco, Los Angeles), or in storage offsite. Please be aware that the Public Records Act does not provide a right for the public to enter or inspect PERB offices or files.

Appointments are not mandatory, but they will help PERB staff facilitate the request and may save you some time. If you have made an appointment, please arrive at the PERB office at your appointment time. You will be escorted to a designated area of the office where the requested files will be available for your review. Failure to make an appointment in advance may result in a delay while the records are located, retrieved, and reviewed by PERB staff; in some cases the records may not be available until days later.

Stealing, removing, destroying, mutilating, defacing, altering, or falsifying PERB records is strictly prohibited. PERB staff may observe the record review to protect the integrity of the record. Your assistance in maintaining the integrity of PERB’s records is expected and appreciated.

REQUESTS FOR COPIES OF PUBLIC RECORDS

PERB will make copies of records for members of the public upon request. Requests need not be in writing. The Public Records Act provides that copies of records will be made promptly available upon payment of fees that cover the direct costs of duplication.

Members of the public may also pay bonded copy-service companies to come to PERB’s offices to make copies. If you wish to bring your own copier to a PERB office, we recommend that you call in advance to make arrangements.

A public record that is not exempt from disclosure and is in electronic format will be made available in electronic format, if requested, but only if it does not jeopardize the security or integrity of the record or any proprietary software. The requestor will be charged the cost of producing an electronic copy of the record.

CHALLENGING A DETERMINATION NOT TO DISCLOSE RECORDS

Under the Public Records Act any person may seek mandamus, injunctive relief, or declaratory relief in any court of competent jurisdiction to enforce the right to inspect or to receive a copy of any public record.

 QUESTIONS/MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ACCESSING PERB RECORDS

Please feel free to call PERB’s Office of the General Counsel at (916) 322-3198 for more information concerning these guidelines or accessing PERB records under California’s Public Records Act.