The Town of Gill is the custodian of certain public records under the state Public Records Law, which is primarily section 7(26) of Chapter 4 and section 10 of Chapter 66 of the General Laws. To make a request, whether written or verbal, to inspect or copy public records in the custody of the Town, you must direct your request to the appropriate Records Access Officer from the list below.
Requests to inspect or receive a copy or public records may be made either verbally or in writing. The Town strongly encourages that requests are made in writing, as this helps confirm between the Town and you an understanding of the documents that are sought. Also, should you find that you are not satisfied with the Town's response to your request, only requests made in writing may be appealed to the Supervisor of Public Records at the Public Records Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
The Town will make a thorough effort to review and respond to your request, recognizing that a prompt and appropriate response to such requests is consistent with good government. Please note that requests will only be addressed under the state Public Records Law, and not the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as FOIA applies only to the federal government and does not apply to the Commonwealth or its cities and towns.
Upon receipt, the Records Access Officer shall review your request and shall advise you of the estimated actual cost to comply with your request in accordance with section 10 of Chapter 66 of the General Laws. Once the Town notifies you in writing of the estimated actual cost and payment is received by the Town, the Town will consolidate the records for you to view or receive a copy, as requested.
The Town may withhold documents that are exempt from disclosure under the law, but will notify you if it does so. If you seek to appeal the Town's response to your request, and only if you made your request in writing, you may file an appeal to the Supervisor of Public Records at the Public Records Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth in accordance with the Public Records Law and the Public Records Access regulations (950 CMR 32.00).
The Town's "Public Records Compliance Policy" is available here. The Policy, which includes the 7 steps listed below, contains complete information about making a public records request. Link: Gill Public Records Policy
1. Any person can make a request for public records by e-mail, by facsimile, or in writing to a Gill Records Access Officer using the contact information listed below. Requests for copies of records or access thereto may still be made in person at the appropriate Town office.
2. A request may be made in person or by e-mail, first class mail, facsimile, or hand delivery.
- Verbal requests for public records will be acknowledged and replied to, even though a requester may not appeal a verbal request to the Supervisor of Public Records.
- A public records request form is available to anyone making a public records request, but neither that form, nor any other type of written request, shall be required. See Appendix A (Form is at bottom of this web page.).
3. Any RAO receiving a public records request shall immediately notify the Chief RAO in such time as shall be established from time to time by the Chief RAO.
4. The RAO may contact the requester in order to clarify a request; provided, however, that a RAO may not ask the requester what they intend to use the requested records for, but shall seek to utilize the RAO's superior knowledge of the requested records to ensure that the requester and the RAO understand what is being requested and/or to assist the requester in narrowing or refining the request.
5. The RAO may assess a reasonable fee for the production of a public record, except those records that are freely available for public inspection (see 950 CMR 32.08); and pursuant to MGL Chapter 66, Section 10(a)(iii), the RAO may require the payment of the reasonable fee prior to production of the requested records.
- Fees shall conform to the provisions of 950 CMR 32.08(2) or other applicable law, including that black and white copies and printouts shall be charged at $0.05/page, whether one or two-sided, and the actual cost of a thumb drive or disk if the records are provided electronically other than e-mail.
- The actual cost of producing a copy of a requested record shall be assessed for records not susceptible to ordinary means of reproduction.
- With a population of 1,500 as of the decennial census, the Town of Gill may assess fees for employee time required in connection with search, segregation, or copying of requested records (see MGL Chapter 66, Section 10(d)(iii)(B).
- If the request for public records requires employee time for search, segregation, or copying, including employees or necessary vendors, such as legal counsel, technology and payroll consultants or others as needed, such time shall be assessed as a fee to the requester based upon the prorated hourly rate of the lowest paid employee in that office capable of doing the work. Provided further, however, that if the work needed to reply to request requires time for an employee compensated in excess of $25/hour, the Town may petition the Massachusetts Supervisor of Records for permission to charge in excess of $25/hour.
6. In general, subject to the exceptions set forth in MGL Chapter 66, Section 10(a), the RAO is required to respond within 10 business days of receipt of a public records request by providing access to or copies of the requested records, providing the requester with direction to access the requested records on the Town's website, or by notifying the requester in writing that all or a portion of the records will be withheld from disclosure and/or that the records will not be provided in that timeframe, addressing the other elements required by law as set forth in MGL Chapter 66, Section 10(b). For the purpose of the response:
- Business days are defined in 950 CMR 32.02 as Monday through Friday, except for legal holidays and any day when Town Hall is closed for business due to emergency, weather, or other events requiring the unexpected closure of business. The Town Hall is open Mondays from 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The Town Hall is regularly closed on Fridays and cannot receive requests on Fridays.
- Calculation of time shall begin with the first business day following the receipt of the public records request (see 950 CMR 32.03(3)).
- Example #1: A request for public records is received by an RAO at 2:00 p.m. on a Wednesday. "Day 1" for purposes of the law will be Thursday.
- Example #2: A public records request received after hours on a Friday. "Day 1" for the purposes of the law will be Monday (or Tuesday, if Monday is a holiday).
- Example #3: An email requesting public records is received on Saturday. "Day 1" for the purposes of the law will be Monday (or Tuesday, if Monday is a holiday).
- The Town may refuse to provide records to any person who has not paid a reasonable estimate for provision of public records or who has failed to pay such a fee in connection with a prior request for public records.
- When the Town, within ten business days as provided by law, provides a good faith estimate of the cost to provide access to or copies of requested records, the number of business days for its response shall be stayed until the Town receives the fee. The Town shall, upon receipt of the fee, undertake the required work to comply with the requested in compliance with the applicable time frames set forth in the statute.
7. If the response to the request is anticipated to be time consuming, extensive, voluminous, or otherwise puts a burden on the Town or its departments, the RAO may request from the Massachusetts Supervisor of Records an extension of time to fulfill the request. The requester of the public records shall be notified in writing that an extension has been requested.