Public Records Requests
To request public records from the BHA Executive Office, please complete the Public Records Request Form found here and return to:
Tina Walgren, Public Records Officer (PRO)
Bremerton Housing Authority
600 Park Avenue
Bremerton, WA 98337
(360) 616-2905 (fax)
Except where these guidelines are mandated by statute, these guidelines are discretionary and advisory only and shall not impose any affirmative duty on BHA. BHA reserves the right to apply and interpret these guidelines as it sees fit and to revise or change them at any time.
The Public Records Act requires that requests for access to records be responded to within five (5) business days by either:
- Providing the records;
- Providing an Internet address and link on the BHA website to the specific records requested, except that if the requestor notifies BHA that he or she cannot access the records through the Internet, then BHA will provide copies of the record or allow the requestor to view copies using a BHA computer;
- Acknowledging that BHA has received the request and providing a reasonable estimate of time that BHA will require to respond to the request; or
- Denying the request.
Additional time required to respond to a request may be based upon the need to clarify the intent of the request, to locate and assemble the information requested, to notify third persons or agencies affected by the request, or to determine whether any of the information requested is exempt and that a denial should be made as to all or part of the request. In acknowledging receipt of a public records request that is unclear, BHA may ask the requestor to clarify what information the requestor is seeking. If the requestor fails to clarify the request, BHA need not respond to it. Denials of requests must be accompanied by a written statement of the specific reasons for the denial.
BHA is required by the Washington State Public Disclosure Act (RCW 42.56) to allow the general public to inspect and/or copy certain public records during normal business hours which are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. excluding holidays. A fee for providing copies may be charged.
Inspection will be denied and the records withdrawn by the PRO if the requestor, when reviewing records, acts in a manner which will damage or substantially disorganize the records or excessively interfere with other essential functions of the Bremerton Housing Authority.
If a requestor has not made arrangements to review or claim records within thirty (30) days of notice that records are available, or fails to make a payment, the PRO may close the request.
When the request is for a large number of records, the PRO or designee will provide access for inspection and copying in installments, if he or she reasonably determines that it would be practical to provide the records in that way. If BHA makes a request available on a partial or installment basis, BHA may charge for each part of the request as it is provided. If an installment of a records request is not claimed or reviewed, BHA is not obligated to fulfill the balance of the request. If, within fifteen (15) days, the requestor fails to arrange for the inspection of the entire set of records or one or more of the installments, the PRO or designee may stop searching for the remaining records and close the request.
If, after the PRO has informed the requestor BHA has provided all available records and subsequently becomes aware of additional responsive documents existing at the time of the request, the PRO will promptly inform the requestor of the additional documents and will provide them on an expedited basis.
In general, most of the information processed and retained by BHA such as contracts, solicitations, resolutions, board meeting minutes, correspondence, and policies fall into the category of public records and thus must be disclosed under the law. Certain information, however, is exempt from public disclosure pursuant to RCW 42.56 including but not limited to the following:
- Personal information in files maintained for employees, appointees, volunteers, or elected officials and such other personal information to the extent that such a disclosure would constitute an invasion of privacy including, but not limited to, residential addresses and telephone numbers, personal electronic email addresses, employment applications, and employment tests.
- Preliminary drafts, notes, recommendations and departmental memoranda in which opinions are expressed or policies formulated or recommended in connection with any BHA action, except when publicly cited by BHA in connection with any agency action.
- Contents of any real estate appraisals made by or for the agency relative to the acquisition or sale of property by the agency are exempt until three (3) years after the date of the appraisal or until sale is abandoned or property sold.
- Valuable designs, drawings, research data, etc. obtained within five (5) years of the request for disclosure, when disclosing would produce private gain and public loss.
- Records relevant to a controversy to which the agency is a party, but which records would not be available to another party under the rules of pretrial discovery for causes pending in the superior courts are exempt from disclosure.
- Records falling into any exemption recognized by Washington statute, or otherwise under local, state or federal law, may be withheld under the Public Records Act.
- Per Page Provided - $0.15/page for requests over 50 pages
- Audio/Video Tapes - $10.00 per tape
- Computer Disks or Thumb Drives - $10.00 per disk or thumb drive
- Actual cost for postage and delivery may be included as well as cost of envelopes or other containers used to mail the records to the requestor.
- Requestor will be charged if an outside source is used for making duplicates of records such as photographs or blueprints.
Disclaimer of Liability: Neither BHA nor any officer, director, Board member, employee, official or volunteer shall be liable, nor shall a cause of action exist, for any loss or damage based upon a release of public records if the person releasing the records acted in good faith in attempting to comply with these guidelines or with the Public Records Act.