A public record is any form of documentation that relates to the conduct of government business that is prepared, owned, used or retained by an agency. This includes, but is not limited to, electronic media, paper, email, microfilm, audiotapes, videotapes, magnetic tapes and discs (CDs and DVDs).
A valid public record request seeks a specific and identifiable public document. This does not include a general request for information. If you are not aware of the title of a specific record, information such as subject matter, dates, location or the persons/issues involved, and the account numbers will help staff locate records to respond to your specific request.
Public Disclosure Requests shall be directed to the Public Records Officer.
All records available for public disclosure are:
- Issued through Tacoma Public Utilities at 3628 S. 35th St., Tacoma, WA
- Processed by the Public Records Officer or designee
- Available during normal office hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., excluding holidays.
Our public records staff will acknowledge your public records request within five business days and will respond in one for four ways:
1. Provide the requested record
2. Provide a reasonable estimate of the time required to prepare the requested records
3. Request clarification of the records you seek
4. Deny the request and cite specific legal exemption as to why the records were denied
Staff will provide the records as soon as possible. Requests may take additional time to process for the following reasons:
1. To clarify the records you seek
2. To locate and assemble the information you request
3. To notify third persons or agencies affected by your request
4. To determine whether any of the information requested is exempt and that if all or part of your request must be denied.
The Attorney General's Guide to Accessing Public Records
The Public Records Act-Chapter 42.56 RCW
City of Tacoma Public Records Requests
The Public Records Officer or designee will describe why each withheld record or redacted portion of a record is exempt from the disclosure.
Common exceptions: RCW 42.56.210 through 42.56.510
Examples of exemptions include:
- Lists of individuals for commercial purposes
- Information that identifies specific computer and telecommunications network vulnerabilities
- Residential addresses and phone numbers of our customers
- Records pending court or administrative action, for which charges have not been filed
- Information identifying a complainant, witness or victim who requests nondisclosure
- Preliminary drafts, notes, recommendations and intra-agency memorandums not publically cited by the agency in connection with any agency action
- Records, or sections of records, that invade a person's right to privacy
- Specific agency personnel records
- Records relating to a current investigation
- Specific locations of historical and archaeological sites
- Specific data regarding valuation of real estate appraisals
- Personal information about personnel and volunteers, including home phone numbers, addresses and employment applications
- Social Security numbers
- Certain investigative records
- Data of a nature that could result in private gain and/or public loss
- Information that, when released, would invade privacy as defined by RCW 42.56.050
Review of a Denial
If Tacoma Public Utilities declined your public records request, you may send a written petition to the Public Records Officer to have that denial reviewed. Tacoma Public Utilities' Legal Department and the Public Records Officer will consider the petitions and affirm or reverse the denial within two business days following the receipt of the petition.
Within two business days of an initial denial, a requester may obtain court review. See the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) for more information.