The first appeal must go to the chief administrative officer, or designee, of a governmental entity. A requester or interested party can appeal to the chief administrative officer within 30 [calendar] days after the governmental entity sends a notice of denial or 30 days after time limits for response have expired if the governmental entity does not respond or provide the requested records.
In addition to denial of access to records, the requester or interested party can also appeal a governmental entity’s claim of extraordinary circumstances if the person believes such circumstances do not exist or the time frame specified is unreasonable (Subsections 63G-2-401(1), 63G-2-204(8)). An unreasonable denial of a request for a fee waiver is also subject to appeal. (Subsection 63G-2-203(6)).
The notice of appeal must contain the requester or interested party’s name, address, and daytime telephone number and the relief sought. The requester or interested party may include a short statement of facts and reasons in support of the appeal. (Subsection (2, 3)).
63G-2-401. Appeal to chief administrative officer – Notice of the decision of the appeal.
(2) A notice of appeal shall contain:
(3) The requester or interested party may file a short statement of facts, reasons, and legal authority in support of the appeal.
- (a) the name, mailing address, and daytime telephone number of the requester or interested party; and
- (b) the relief sought.
After receiving an appeal, the chief administrative officer should respond within 10 business days; five business days if the requester or interested party demonstrates that an expedited decision benefits the public rather than the requester or interested party; or 12 days if an issue of confidentiality exits. However, the time period may be extended by agreement of all parties. (Subsection 63G-2-401(5)(c)).
The chief administrative officer may, weighing varying interests and public policy, order disclosure of the records, if the interests favoring access are equal or greater than those favoring restriction (Subsection (6)). However, certain records of enforcement or litigation may only be released upon a higher standard of weighing the interests of access or restriction. Details are found in Section 63G-2-406.
The chief administrative officer’s determinations must be sent to all participants. If the chief administrative officer affirms the denial, in whole or in part, he or she should provide a notice of denial that includes:
If a chief administrative officer fails to provide the requested records or issue a notice of denial within the specified time, that failure is the same as a determination denying access to records. Denial based on failure to respond or provide records can also be appealed.