“Ensuring open and honest government is a bedrock principle of democracy. It can only be attained through the unfettered exchange of information between citizens and their government. A citizen’s right-to-know, sometimes known as freedom of information, fosters accountability, prevents abuses of power and promotes trust in government.”
Upper Dublin Township has had an effective system for dealing with records requests for some time – but as of January 1, 2009, new guidelines have changed what is considered to be an “open” record, and what isn’t. The Township has adopted a policy to guide responses to public records requests. Those wishing to make such requests are encouraged to first read the policy. Requests for public records must be made on a Township form or a form approved by the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records. The Township form is on this web site.
The Township form can be submitted by mail, fax or in person to: Deb Ritter, Open Records Officer, Upper Dublin Township, 801 Loch Alsh Avenue, Fort Washington, PA 19034. PHONE (215) 643-1600 (ext. 3221)/FAX (215) 542-0797. The Township form can be submitted by email and saved if you have Acrobat Reader 7.0 or higher.
Requests for the Fort Washington Fire Company, No.1 concerning Open Records, should be directed to Bill Gift, Open Records Officer, Fort Washington Fire Company, 220 Summit Avenue, Fort Washington, PA 19034. Emails may be sent to the FWFC Open Records Officer.
If a request is for access to a criminal investigative record from Upper Dublin Township, including from the Upper Dublin Township Police Department, and is denied or deemed denied, the requester may file an appeal in writing addressed to the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, Open Records Appeals Officer, Montgomery County Court House, Norristown, PA 19401. PHONE (610) 278-3090.
If any other request is denied or deemed denied for any reason, the requester may file an appeal in writing with the Pennsylvania State Office of Open Records addressed to: Executive Director, Office of Open Records, Commonwealth Keystone Building, 400 North Street, 4th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17120. They may also be submitted via FAX: (717) 425-5343 or EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org as a Microsoft Word or PDF attachment.
In all cases the appeal must be filed within fifteen (15) business days of the mailing date of the Township's notice of denial, or within fifteen (15) days of a deemed denial, and it must: (a) state the grounds upon which the requester asserts that the record is a public record and (b) address any grounds stated by the Township for delaying or denying the request.
Visit the Documents & Forms page to download Right To Know forms and policy.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
3. Are emails a record which can be requested?
Yes. That does not mean there is wholesale release of e-mail records. It means that an e-mail, like any other record, goes through the same analysis to determine whether it is a public record.
4. Can a public body limit the number of requests a citizen can make?
No. The law states that a state or local agency cannot limit the number of records which may be requested or made available for inspection or duplication. However, citizens should use good judgment in seeking records from the public body and not use this law to harass or overburden a public body from performing its job. Also, a public body can deny repeated requests for the same records by the same requester.
5. Can a requester ask for records in person?
Yes. However, if a person wishes to take advantage of the appeal process, the request must be in writing and on an approved form. Upper Dublin intends that all requests for records that are not obviously public records be made in writing on the Township’s official form, which is available on-line, so that appropriate tracking of the Township’s responses can be maintained. The Township is also required to accept a request form generated by the Pennsylvania Open Records Office.
12. Can the Township charge a fee for copying public records?
Yes. However, the law states that the PA Office of Open Records establishes the fees for duplication. Fees for Township records are set forth in the Open Records Policy.
13. What State Agency oversees compliance with the Act?
The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records. Its mission is to enforce the new Right-to-Know law and to serve as a resource to citizens, public officials and members of the media.
14. If a record is denied, is there a right to appeal?
Yes, a citizen can appeal directly to the state Office of Open Records for most requests. It will assign an appeal officer who will review the request and the Township’s response and make a decision as to whether the Township acted properly. See "Appeals" above for detailed information on general record appeals and criminal investigative record appeals.
The Township of Upper Dublin
801 Loch Alsh Avenue
Fort Washington, PA 19034
Phone: (215) 643-1600
Fax: (215) 542-0797