The Selectboard has designated the Town Clerk as Plainfield's Records Access Officer under the Massachusetts Public Records Law.
Guidelines to enable people to request records will be posted here when prepared.
For more information on the law, please consult the Secretary of the Commonwealth's website.
New Public Records Law Provisions
The following is an excerpt from that website regarding municipal responsibilities under the new Public Records Law effective January 1, 2017.
Please be aware, the current law will remain effective until that time.
It is suggested you consult the complete text of the new law which can be found at:
If you have any questions, please contact the Public Records Division at 617-727-2832 or email@example.com.
Records Access Officers
Municipalities are required to designate 1 or more Records Access Officer (RAO).
The contact information for the RAO must be posted conspicuously, including on the municipality's website, if available.
The RAO has a duty to:
- Coordinate the municipality's response to requests for access to public records;
- Assist individuals seeking public records in identifying the records requested;
- Assist the custodian of records in preserving public records; and
- Prepare guidelines that enable requestors to make informed requests.
RAOs must provide public records to a requestor in an electronic format unless the record is not available in an electronic format or the requestor does not have the ability to receive or access the records in a useable electronic format.
Additionally, municipal RAOs are required to post commonly requested records on their municipal websites, to the extent feasible.
RAOs must permit inspection or furnish a copy of a requested public record within 10 business days following receipt of the request. RAOs may petition the Supervisor of Records for an extension if they are unable to grant access to the requested public records in this time period.
The Supervisor of Records' Public Access Regulations allowing records custodians to charge 5 cents for black and white paper copies or computer printouts of public records for both single and double-sided sheets was codified and will remain effective with the new law.
If a response to a public records request requires more than 2 hours of employee time, a municipal RAO may assess a fee of the hourly rate of the lowest paid employee with the skills necessary to search for, compile, segregate, redact or reproduce a requested record. However, the fee shall not exceed $25 an hour, unless approved by the Supervisor of Records. Municipalities with populations of 20,000 people or fewer will be permitted to charge for the first 2 hours of employee time.
If a municipality fails to comply with a requirement of the new law, the requestor may file an appeal with the Supervisor of Records who will then issue a determination on the public status of the records within 10 business days of receipt of the request for an appeal.
If a requestor prevails in a court action against a municipal RAO, the court may award the requestor attorney fees or costs.