Open Records Policy
Application of this policy
This open records policy governs the public access to administrative and operational records of the Department of Cultural Affairs, the administrative division, the arts Division (Iowa Arts Council) and the historical division (State Historical Society of Iowa) in accordance with Code of Iowa Section 22.11, the Fair Information Practices Act. This policy is in accordance with 221–Chapter 2, Iowa Administrative Code.
This policy does not apply to public access to collections or to collections records of the State Historical Society of Iowa which is governed by 223–Chapter 22 Iowa Administrative Code. Public access to permanent government records in the State Archives of Iowa is governed by 223–Chapter 3, Iowa Administrative Code and 223–Chapter 22, Iowa Administrative Code.
The Department of Cultural Affairs is committed to assuring open public access to all records of the agency to the extent permitted by law. The Department of Cultural Affairs utilizes records series retention and disposition schedules adopted by the State Records Commission to determine how long administrative and operational records of the Department are retained.
Availability of a Public Record
Open records will be available for public inspection during customary office hours of the agency. Normally, those hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (except state holidays). Historic sites administered by the historical division maintain hours as posted at those sites. Immediate access to records may be affected by a good faith effort to: verify the scope of the records request; locate the specific records requested; and determine whether any of the records, or information contained therein, are confidential in nature. The Department will make every effort to provide the public with access to public records in a prompt and efficient manner.
Confidential records may be withheld, and confidential information within an otherwise open record may be redacted prior to a record’s release for public examination and copying. If a confidential record is withheld from examination and copying, or confidential information within an otherwise open record is redacted, the Department will identify the document(s) and cite the application provision of law which supports the decision to withhold the confidential information from public examination.
Requests for a Public Record
Requests for public access to an administrative or operational record of the Department of Cultural Affairs in accordance with this policy may be made in person, in writing or by telephone. A request for access to a public record should be directed to: Jerome Thompson, Interim Administrator, Department of Cultural Affairs, 600 East Locust Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319, Jerome.Thompson@iowa.gov, or 515.281.4221. Requests should be clearly identified as a public records request by including the term “Fair Information Practices Act Request” in the request.
A person who submits a “Fair Information Practices Act Request” for access to public records of the Department shall provide a name, mailing address and telephone number to facilitate effective communication regarding the request. A person who submits a “Fair Information Practices Act Request” orally will receive a letter from the department verifying the specific scope of the request before the request will be processed.
Requests for access to a public record shall identify the particular public record, to which access is requested, by name or description in order to identify efficiently the desired record. The requestor’s description should: (1) specify the particular type of record sought; (2) specify the particular time period to be searched by providing a start and end date; (3) specify the author and/or recipient of the record requested, to the extent possible; (4) specify, to extent possible, the particular records’ type to be searched (letters, memoranda, reports, recordings, etc.) – the requestor shall specify if the request applies to a record stored in electronic form; and (5) provide any other pertinent information that will assist the Department in locating the record requested (please note that the Department can usually process a request for specific records more quickly than a request for “all information pertaining to a particular subject”). If the public request applies to a record that is stored in electronic form, the requestor shall list the search terms to be used to conduct the electronic search.
Department personnel shall direct all “Fair Information Practices Act Requests” to the Fair Information Practices Coordinator processing. Before a search is conducted, the Coordinator may contact the requestor if there are questions concerning the scope of the record request.
Upon receipt of a request for access to a public record, this office will promptly take all reasonable steps to preserve a public record while the request is pending.
Every public record that is gathered pursuant to a records request will be examined, with the assistance of legal counsel if necessary, for completeness in response to the request and to determine whether the record is confidential.
Fees for time spent retrieving and copying an open record and/or supervising
the public examination of an open record may be charged to the requestor of the
record at the rate of $10.00 per half-hour for the actual cost of time spent supervising
the examination and copying of requested records and $0.25 per page for photocopies
of requested records in accord with 221-Subrule 3.3(7), Iowa Administrative Code.
Whenever possible, an estimate of fees will be provided to the requestor before
a search is initiated. If total fees are expected to exceed $25.00, the Department
may require payment in advance of processing.