City of Surprise
BACKGROUND As part of the approved FY2017 Annual Audit Plan, in June 2017 the Internal Auditor commenced with an audit of the City Clerk’s Public Records Request Process. The City Clerk serves as the City’s official records custodian. Records request can be submitted directly to the City Clerk’s Office, City Court, the Fire-Emergency Department and the Police Department. This report focuses on records requests processed by the City Clerk’s Office. The City Clerk’s Office consists of one appointed staff member (City Clerk) and four fulltime employees. FY2017 daily operations were supported by a City Council amended approved budget of $389,000. A key departmental goal is to provide timely public access to City information. The City Clerk’s Office averages approximately 488 requests for public records annually, as summarized in the following chart: Performance Measure FY2017 Target FY2016 Target FY2015 Actual FY2014 Actual Number of Request for Public Records 500 500 400 550 % of Public Records Requests Completed in 3-5 days 95% 95% 95% 92% (Data in table obtained from FY2017 Final Budget Book.) Records requests are received by the City Clerk’s Office through online submission of the City’s request for a public records form, via email, fax, walk-ins, and subpoena. A manual process is in place for tracking and monitoring the status of requests. Access to records is governed by Arizona Public Records Law, which is a series of laws that are designed to guarantee public access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Arizona. Arizona Revised Statues (A.R.S.) §39-121 guides municipalities related to public records requests. Additional guidance for managing the City’s records request process includes the City Municipal Code, the Public Records Request Handbook (Handbook) created by the City Attorney’s Office in August 2009, internal City Clerk’s Office policy manual, and other applicable citywide daily operational policies and procedural manuals. OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE
The objective of the audit was to determine whether City public records requests policies and procedures were being complied with and to examine current practices for opportunities for improvements.