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Bagley, Minnesota

Gateway to Itasca
 

Procedures for Access to Government Data

 
The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act establishes a comprehensive system for compiling and distributing government data gathered by the City of Bagley.  All government data collected and maintained by the City of Bagley is considered public unless otherwise classified by statute, temporary classification, or federal law as private or confidential with data not on individuals, or as non-public or protected non-public concerning data on individuals.
 
Laws affecting data practices change and information provided here may not be the most recent information.  The city clerk is designated the responsible authority and the city attorney is designated as the data practices compliance official with regards to the data practices act.  The responsible authority is responsible for collection, use and dissemination of any set of data.  The compliance official receives questions or concerns regarding problems in obtaining access to data or other data practices problems within the city.
 

Access to public data

All information maintained by the city is public unless there is a specific statutory designation which gives it a different classification.

 

People entitled to access

Any person has the right to inspect and copy public data. The person also has the right to have an explanation of the meaning of the data. The person does not need to state his or her name or give the reason for the request.

 

Form of request and response

Any request to view or receive copies of public data must be made in writing by using the FORM provided.

  • The city is not required to provide information verbally over the telephone.
  • The city may provide information by fax or e-mail, at its own discretion.
  • The city is not required to provide information in any specific format, except that if the data is maintained in electronic format and is requested to be electronic format, then it must be provided in that medium. This does not mean that the city will provide the data in an electronic format or program that is different from what the city has.

Questions of requesting parties

People requesting public data must not be asked to identify themselves or state a reason for the request. They may be asked to provide certain identifying or clarifying information for the sole purpose of facilitating access to the data.

 

Time limits

Requests will be received and processed only during normal business hours.  If copies cannot be made at the time of the request, copies must be supplied as soon as reasonably possible.

Access to data on individuals

Information about individual people is classified by law as public, private, or confidential. A list of the private and confidential information maintained by the City is contained in Appendix A. The forms used to collect private and confidential information are referenced throughout the data practices procedures pages.

 

People entitled to access

Public information about an individual may be shown or given to anyone.

Private information about an individual may be shown or given to:

  • The subject, but only once every six months, unless a dispute has arisen or additional data has been collected
  • A person who has been given access by the express written consent of the data subject. This consent must be on the consent to release private data form, or a form reasonably similar.
  • People who are authorized access by federal, state, or local law or court order.
  • People about whom the individual was advised at the time the data was collected. The identity of those people must be part of the Tennessen warning described below.
  • People within the city staff, the city council, and outside agents (such as attorneys) whose work assignments or responsibilities reasonably require access.

Confidential information may not be given to the subject of the data, but may be shown or given to:

  • People who are authorized access by federal, state, or local law or court order.
  • People within the city staff, the city council, and outside agents (such as attorneys) whose work assignments or responsibilities reasonably require access.

 

Form of request and response

Any individual may request, which must be in writing, on  a form supplied by the City, whether the city has stored data about that individual and whether the data is classified as public, private, or confidential.

 

All requests to see or copy private or confidential information must be in writing. An information disclosure request form, must be completed to document who requests and who receives this information. The responsible authority or designee must complete the relevant portions of the form. The responsible authority or designee may waive the use of this form if there is other documentation of the requesting party’s identity, the information requested, and the city’s response.

  • The city is not required to provide information verbally over the telephone.
  • The city may provide information by fax or e-mail, at its own discretion.
  • The city is not required to provide information in any specific format, except that if the data is maintained in electronic format and is requested to be electronic format, then it must be provided in that medium. This does not mean that the city will provide the data in an electronic format or program that is different from what the city has.
  • Requests for names and addresses of residents must be made in person or in writing.

 

Identification of requesting party:  The responsible authority or designee must verify the identity of the requesting party as a person entitled to access. This can be through personal knowledge, presentation of written identification, comparison of the data subject’s signature on a consent form with the person’s signature in city records, or other reasonable means.

 

Time limits:  Requests will be received and processed only during normal business hours.  The response must be immediate, if possible, or within 10 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays) if an immediate response is not possible.

 

Summary data:  Summary data is statistical records and reports derived from data on individuals but which does not identify an individual by name or any other characteristic that could uniquely identify an individual. Summary data derived from private or confidential data is public. The responsible authority or designee will prepare summary data upon request, if the request is in writing and the requesting party pays for the cost of preparation. The responsible authority or designee must notify the requesting party about the estimated costs and collect those costs before preparing or supplying the summary data. This should be done within 10 days after receiving the request. If the summary data cannot be prepared within 10 days, the responsible authority must notify the requester of the anticipated time schedule and the reasons for the delay.

 

Summary data may be prepared by “blacking out” personal identifiers, cutting out portions of the records that contain personal identifiers, programming computers to delete personal identifiers, or other reasonable means. The responsible authority may ask an outside agency or person to prepare the summary data if:

  • the specific purpose is given in writing,
  • the agency or person agrees not to disclose the private or confidential data, and
  • the responsible authority determines that access by this outside agency or person will not compromise the privacy of the private or confidential data.

Juvenile records

The following applies to private (not confidential) data about people under the age of 18.

 

Parental access:  In addition to the people listed above who may have access to private data, a parent may have access to private information about a juvenile data subject. “Parent” means the parent or guardian of a juvenile data subject, or individual acting as a parent or guardian in the absence of a parent or guardian. The parent is presumed to have this right unless the responsible authority or designee has been given evidence that there is a state law, court order, or other legally binding document which prohibits this right.

 

Notice to juvenile:  Before requesting private data from juveniles, city personnel must notify the juveniles that they may request that the information not be given to their parent(s). This notice should be the notice to persons under the age of 18 form. 

 

Denial of parental access:  The responsible authority or designee may deny parental access to private data when the juvenile requests this denial and the responsible authority or designee determines that withholding the data would be in the best interest of the juvenile. The request from the juvenile must be in writing stating the reasons for the request. In determining the best interest of the juvenile, the responsible authority or designee will consider:

  • Whether the juvenile is of sufficient age and maturity to explain the reasons and understand the consequences,
  • Whether denying access may protect the juvenile from physical or emotional harm,
  • Whether there is reasonable grounds to support the juvenile’s reasons, and
  • Whether the data concerns medical, dental, or other health services provided under Minnesota Statutes Sections 144.341 to 144.347. If so, the data may be released only if failure to inform the parent would seriously jeopardize the health of the minor. The city complies with all HIPPA requirements.

 

The responsible authority or designee may also deny parental access to health records without a request from the juvenile under Minnesota Statutes Section 144.335.

Collection of data on individuals

The collection and storage of information about individuals will be limited to that necessary for the administration and management of programs specifically authorized by the state legislature, city council, or federal government. When an individual is asked to supply private or confidential information about the individual, the city employee requesting the information must give the individual a Tennessen warning. This warning must contain the following:

  • the purpose and intended use of the requested data,
  • whether the individual may refuse or is legally required to supply the requested data,
  • any known consequences from supplying or refusing to supply the information, and
  • the identity of other persons or entities authorized by state or federal law to receive the data.

A Tennessen warning is not required when an individual is requested to supply investigative data to a law enforcement officer.  A Tennessen warning may be on a separate form or may be incorporated into the form which requests the private or confidential data.

Denial of access

If the responsible authority or designee determines that the requested data is not accessible to the requesting party, the responsible authority or designee must inform the requesting party orally at the time of the request or in writing as soon after that as possible. The responsible authority or designee must give the specific legal authority, including statutory section, for withholding the data. The responsible authority or designee must place an oral denial in writing upon request. This must also include the specific legal authority for the denial.

Data Protection

Accuracy and currency of data

  • All employees will be requested, and given appropriate forms, to provide updated personal information to the appropriate staff person, which is necessary for tax, insurance, emergency notification, and other personnel purposes. Other people who provide private or confidential information will also be encouraged to provide updated information when appropriate.
  • Department heads should periodically review forms used to collect data on individuals to delete items that are not necessary and to clarify items that may be ambiguous.
  • All records must be disposed of according to the city’s records retention schedule.

Data safeguards

  • Private and confidential information will be stored in files or databases which are not readily accessible to individuals who do not have authorized access and which will be secured during hours when the offices are closed.
  • Private and confidential data must be kept only in city offices, except when necessary for city business.
  • Only those employees whose job responsibilities require them to have access will be allowed access to files and records that contain private or confidential information. These employees will be instructed to:
    • not discuss, disclose, or otherwise release private or confidential data to city employees whose job responsibilities do not require access to the data,
    • not leave private or confidential data where non-authorized individuals might see it, and
    • shred private or confidential data before discarding.
  • When a contract with an outside party requires access to private or confidential information, the contracting party will be required to use and disseminate the information consistent with the Act.

 

Fees

Fees may be charged only if the requesting person asks for a copy or electronic transmittal of the data. Fees will be charged according to the City’s standard photocopying policy, available on the fees for data page, unless significant time is required. In that case, the fee will include the actual cost of searching for, retrieving, and copying or electronically transmitting the data. The fee may not include time necessary to separate public from non-public data.

 

The responsible authority may also charge an additional fee if the copies have commercial value and are a substantial and discrete portion of a formula, compilation, program, process, or system developed with significant expenditure of public funds. This additional fee must relate to the actual development costs of the information.

 

The city receives numerous requests from the public for photocopies of various government documents. It is the city’s goal to ensure the public’s access to information. We encourage the use of technology, and make information available (when possible) through our website at no cost. For those without Internet access to our website, access is available at the Bagley Public Library.

 

For requests beyond those categories, the city will charge $.50/page (black/white) or $.75/page (color) for copies, plus appropriate postage for mailed responses. It is within staff’s discretion to waive fees for incidental requests.

Sample contract provision

Data practices compliance

Contractor will have access to data collected or maintained by the City to the extent necessary to perform Contractor’s obligations under this contract. Contractor agrees to maintain all data obtained from the City in the same manner as the City is required under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, Minn. Stat. Chap. 13 (the “Act”). Contractor will not release or disclose the contents of data classified as not public to any person except at the written direction of the City. Contractor agrees to defend and indemnify the City from any claim, liability, damage or loss asserted against the City as a result of Contractor’s failure to comply with the requirements of the Act or this contract. Upon termination of this contract, Contractor agrees to return data to the City, as requested by the City.