1:012 Inspecting and Copying Public Records and Related Charges for Producing Copies
of Public Records
Austin Peay State University
Inspecting and Copying Public Records and Related Charges for Producing Copies of
March 30, 2017
Office of Legal Affairs
It is the policy of Austin Peay State University to permit the inspection of public
records and to implement reasonable charges for making copies of public records by
photographic or other means of duplication pursuant to state law.
The Tennessee Public Records Act (T.C.A. § 10-7-503 et seq.) (TPRA) grants Tennessee
citizens the right to inspect public records.
The law allows records custodians to charge a fee to supply copies of public records
pursuant to properly adopted policies. Under T.C.A. § 8-4-601 et seq., the Office of Open Records Counsel (OORC develop a
schedule of reasonable charges which may be used by a records custodian as a guideline
to charge a citizen requesting copies of public records.
While these guidelines are not mandatory, they do create a safe harbor for a records
custodian who adheres to the policies and guidelines established by the OORC. APSU
adopts this policy with the intent of incorporating the OORC guidelines as they may
be from time to time amended.
The time reasonably necessary to produce the requested records and includes the time
spent locating, retrieving, reviewing, redacting, and reproducing the records.
The labor of the employee(s) reasonably necessary to produce requested records for
the first hour incurred by the institution in producing the records.
All reasonable costs the institution incurred to produce the public records requested
by the requesting party. Production costs include copying costs, labor costs, and
delivery costs, as described in this policy.
All documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, microfilms, electronic data
processing files and output, films, sound recordings, or other material, regardless
of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance
or in connection with the transaction of official business by any governmental agency.
See Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-503(a)(1)(A).
Public Records Request Coordinator (PRRC)
The individual, or individuals, designated who has, or have, the responsibility to
ensure public record requests are routed to the appropriate records custodian and
are fulfilled in accordance with the TPRA. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-503(a)(1)(B).
The Public Records Request Coordinator may also be a records custodian.
The office, official or employee lawfully responsible for the direct custody and care
of a public record. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-503(a)(1)(C). The records custodian
is not necessarily the original preparer or receiver of the record.
A person or persons seeking access to a public record, whether it is for inspection
Responding to Public Records Requests
Public Record Request Coordinator
The PRRC shall review public record requests and make an initial determination of
If the requestor provided evidence of Tennessee citizenship (if required);
If the records requested are described with sufficient specificity to identify them;
If the Governmental Entity is the custodian of the records.
The PRRC shall acknowledge receipt of the request and take any of the following appropriate
Advise the requestor of this Policy and the elections made regarding:
Proof of Tennessee citizenship;
Form(s) required for copies;
Fees (and labor threshold and waivers, if applicable); and
Aggregation of multiple or frequent requests.
If appropriate, deny the request in writing, providing the appropriate ground such
as one of the following:
The requestor is not, or has not presented evidence of being, a Tennessee citizen
(if proof of citizenship is required).
The request lacks specificity. (Offer to assist in clarification)
An exemption makes the record not subject to disclosure under the TPRA. (Provide the
exemption in written denial)
Austin Peay State University is not the custodian of the requested records.
The records do not exist
If appropriate, contact the requestor to see if the request can be narrowed.
Forward the records request to the appropriate records custodian within Austin Peay
If requested records are in the custody of a different governmental entity, and the
PRRC knows the correct governmental entity, advise the requestor of the correct governmental
entity and PRRC for that entity if known.
Upon receiving a public records request, a records custodian shall promptly make requested
public records available in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-503. If the records
custodian is uncertain that an applicable exemption applies, the custodian may consult
with the PRRC, counsel, or the OORC.
If not practicable to promptly provide requested records because additional time is
necessary to determine whether the requested records exist; to search for, retrieve,
or otherwise gain access to records; to determine whether the records are open; to
redact records; or for other similar reasons, then a records custodian shall, within
seven (7) business days from the records custodian’s receipt of the request, send
the requestor a completed Public Records Request Response Form which is referenced
in the “Related Forms” section below, based on the form developed by the OORC.
If a records custodian denies a public record request, he or she shall deny the request
in writing using the Public Records Request Response Form.
If a records custodian reasonably determines production of records should be segmented
because the records request is for a large volume of records, or additional time is
necessary to prepare the records for access, the records custodian shall use the Public
Records Request Response Form to notify the requestor that production of the records
will be in segments and that a records production schedule will be provided as expeditiously
as practicable. If appropriate, the records custodian should contact the requestor
to see if the request can be narrowed.
If a records custodian discovers records responsive to a records request were omitted,
the records custodian should contact the requestor concerning the omission and produce
the records as quickly as practicable.
If a record contains confidential information or information that is not open for
public inspection, the records custodian shall prepare a redacted copy prior to providing
access. If questions arise concerning redaction, the records custodian should coordinate
with counsel or other appropriate parties regarding review and redaction of records.
The records custodian and the PRRC may also consult with the OORC or with the Office
of Attorney General and Reporter.
Whenever a redacted record is provided, a records custodian should provide the requestor
with the basis for redaction. The basis given for redaction shall be general in nature
and not disclose confidential information.
Inspection of Records
There shall be no charge for inspection of open public records.
The location for inspection of records within the offices of Austin Peay State University
should be determined by either the PRRC or the records custodian.
Under reasonable circumstances, the PRRC or a records custodian may require an appointment
for inspection or may require inspection of records at an alternate location. Records
may be inspected during business hours (
, Monday-Friday, except for official holidays).
Copying of Public Records
A records custodian shall promptly respond to a public record request for copies in
the most economic and efficient manner practicable.
Copies will be available for pickup at a location specified by the records custodian.
Copies will be delivered via email, unless size limitations prevent delivery or if
requested that they be sent via US Mail. Upon payment for postage, copies will be
delivered to the requestor’s home address by the United States Postal Service.
A requestor will not be allowed to make copies of records with personal equipment
or provide their own storage devices.
The University will establish the charge for making copies of public records by photographic
or other means of duplication at the rate established by the OOCR as they may be from
time to time amended. (See www.comptroller.tn.gov/openrecords/index.asp) The schedule sets a per page fee for copying that does not include labor charges
as described below.
If the requested records exist electronically, but not in the format requested or
a new or modified computer program or application is necessary to put the records
in a readable and reproducible format or it is necessary to access backup files, the
PRD shall charge the requesting party the actual costs incurred in producing the records
in the format requested or in creating or modifying a computer program or application
necessary to put the records in a readable and reproducible format or in accessing
Electronic records will be produced only in a read-only format.
The PRRC shall utilize the most cost efficient method of producing requested records
and strive to utilize current employees at the lowest practicable hourly wage to fulfill
public records requests for copies.
“Labor” is the time (in hours) reasonably necessary to produce requested records,
including the time spent locating, retrieving, reviewing, redacting, and reproducing
“Labor threshold” is the first (1st) hour of labor reasonably necessary to produce
requested material(s). The PRRC is only permitted to charge for labor exceeding the
labor threshold established by the governmental entity.
“Hourly wage of an employee” is based upon the base salary of the employee and does
not include benefits. If an employee is not paid on an hourly basis, the hourly wage
shall be determined by dividing the employee’s annual salary by the required hours
to be worked per year. For example, an employee who is expected to work a 37.5 hour
workweek and receives $39,000 in salary on an annual basis will be deemed to be paid
$20 per hour.
In calculating labor charges, the PRRC should determine the total amount of labor
for each employee and subtract the labor threshold from the labor of the highest paid
employee(s). The PRRC should then multiply the amount of labor for each employee by
each employee’s hourly wage to calculate the total amount of labor charges associated
with the request.
The PRRC shall charge the requesting party for the costs incurred by the PRRC in delivering
the records to the requesting party, in addition to any other charge permitted by
Delivery of copies of records to a requestor is anticipated to be by hand delivery.
In the discretion of the PRRC, copies of public records may be delivered through other
means, including electronically or by U.S. Postal Service.
If the requesting party requests copies of public records, the following provisions
concerning payment of production costs shall apply:
The PRRC shall provide the requesting party an estimate of the production costs before
initiating the production of copies of the requested public records.
The PRRC may require payment in full of all production costs before copies of public
records are delivered or otherwise made available to the requesting party.
Production costs must be paid by cash or check. Cash payments must be for the exact
amount of the publication costs.
The PRRC will provide a receipt to the requesting party upon receipt of payment of
the productions costs.
Waiver of Production Costs
The PRRC is authorized in its discretion to waive payment for providing copies of
public records on a case by case basis.