Important Update: Calculation of Business Days due to the Governor’s recent disaster declaration and COVID-19 (coronavirus)
As part of the unprecedented response to coronavirus in Texas, and in light of the Governor’s recent disaster declaration, the Office of the Attorney General has received inquiries regarding the calculation of business days under the Public Information Act (the “Act”) and related use of the new temporary suspension process under section 552.233 of the Government Code.
Section 552.233 of the Government Code permits a governmental body impacted by a catastrophe or disaster to suspend the applicability of the Act for up 14 calendar days. Use of the section 552.233 suspension process is appropriate where a governmental is open for business but determines that a catastrophe has interfered with its ability to comply with the Act. A section 552.233 suspension is not necessary if the governmental body is not open for business or if the applicable suspension period does not otherwise encompass a business day, as described below.
In order to provide additional clarification regarding the calculation of business days during the state response to the coronavirus, the Town of Westlake will utilize the following guidelines when calculating the number of business days to produce public information in response to requests. These guidelines will remain in effect until further notice:
- Holidays observed by the Town of Westlake are not business days.
- Weekends are not a business day.
- Skeleton crew days are not business days.
- Any day that the Town of Westlake’s administrative offices (Town Hall) is closed is not a business day.
- If the Town of Westlake has closed its administrative offices (Westlake Town Hall, 1500 Solana Blvd., Bldg 7., Suite #7200 Westlake, TX 76262) for purposes of a public health or epidemic response or if the Town’s governmental body is unable to access its records on a calendar day, then such day is not a business day, even if staff continues to work remotely or staff is present but involved directly in the public health or epidemic response.
The statutory requirements that apply to governmental bodies that have received requests for public information can be found in the Public Information Act, which is codified at chapters 552 of the Government Code.
The governmental body must "promptly" produce public information in response to your request. "Promptly" means that a governmental body may take a reasonable amount of time to produce the information, which varies depending on the facts in each case. The amount of information you have requested is highly relevant to what makes for a reasonable response time.
The Public Information Act prohibits the governmental body from asking you why you want the information you have requested. The governmental body may, however, ask you to clarify your request if they are uncertain as to what you want, and they may discuss with you how the scope of your request may be narrowed if you have requested a large amount of information.
Resolution 16-21 - Adopting the provisions of Section 552.275 of Chamber 552 of the Texas Government Code and establishing a reasonable limit on the amount of time that personnel of the town are required to spend producing public information.
Record Requests Submittal Procedure
A request must be received in writing. Requests may be submitted by letter or by completing a Request for Public Information. Chapter 552 of the Government Code allows the request to be sent via email. Emailed or faxed requests must be submitted to the Town Secretary. Requests for Police and Municipal Court records requests may be submitted directly to the Police Department (City of Keller PD) records manager or Court Administrator. All requests must include (at least) a name and a way to contact the requestor (phone number, fax number, email address, or home address, etc.), and a detailed description of the information being sought.
Records may be provided to a requestor in person or by mail. Requests less than ten (10) pages may be faxed or scanned and emailed. It is the town’s policy to provide records in the least expensive manner. If a request can be filled while the requestor waits, that is the best option.
Copies of Records
Charges for copies of public records shall be in accordance with Chapter 70 of the Texas Administrative Code.
Public document portal
Searchable public documents including archived agendas, minutes, ordinances and resolutions for the Town of Westlake and Westlake Academy.