Public Records Policy

Communications Director

Jesse Fox Mayshark
jmayshark@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3710

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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(This Public Records Policy is excerpted from the Administrative Rules of the City of Knoxville)


1.16 ACCESS TO AND COPIES OF PUBLIC RECORDS 

Pursuant to § 1411 of the Charter of the City of Knoxville and Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-503, et. seq., and subject to the limitations contained therein and any other applicable law, public records of the City of Knoxville shall be open for public inspection. 

City employees shall timely and efficiently provide access and assistance to persons requesting to view or receive copies of public records. No provisions of this Administrative Rule shall be used to hinder access to open public records. However, the integrity and organization of public records, as well as the efficient and safe operation of the City, shall be protected as provided by current law. Concerns about this Policy should be addressed to the public records request coordinator for the City of Knoxville or to the Tennessee Office of Open Records Counsel (“OORC”). The City of Knoxville’s public records request coordinator is the Director of Communications, 400 Main Street Room 654A, Knoxville, TN 37902, (865) 215-3710 or communications@knoxvilletn.gov

Like all Administrative Rules, this Administrative Rule is available for inspection and duplication in the office of the Department of Communications, and shall be posted online. This Policy shall be reviewed every two years. 

Under the authority granted to the Mayor by Article III, §§ 301 and 303 of the Charter of the City of Knoxville and § 2-3 of the Knoxville City Code, and pursuant to TENN. CODE ANN. § 10-7-503(g), access to and copying of public records shall be governed by the following: 

The Schedule of Reasonable Charges (including production and labor charges) and the Frequent and Multiple Requests for Copies Policy promulgated by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, Office of Open Records Counsel, are hereby adopted for the City of Knoxville, except where an ordinance or written policy adopted by an administrative department of the City establishes a different schedule of charges in accordance with law. Aggregation of multiple or frequent requests shall begin when a requestor makes four (4) or more requests per calendar month. 

Where, in the discretion of the public records request coordinator, copies of records are provided by CD, DVD or other similar electronic medium, the City may charge a fee not to exceed ten dollars ($10) per disk in lieu of the cost of paper copies to offset media costs and any additional preparation expenses. 

For security purposes, records custodians may decline to accept or use open, out-of-the-box or previously used electronic storage devices (flash drives, memory cards, etc.) provided by requestors. 

By law, non-citizens of Tennessee do not have a right to inspect or copy public records. Proof of Tennessee citizenship by presentation of a valid Tennessee driver’s license (or alternative acceptable form of identification) may be required as a condition to inspect or receive copies of public records. 

Records custodians, in their discretion, may allow inspection or copying of public records by non-citizens, but such access should not be granted at taxpayer expense. Costs for such access shall be governed by the Schedule of Reasonable Charges (including production and labor charges) promulgated by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, Office of Open Records Counsel, except that non-citizen requestors shall pay all labor costs related to inspection or copying, including the first hour of labor and regardless of whether copies are requested. Records custodians shall ensure that non-citizen requests are not approved or disapproved in an unlawfully discriminatory manner. 

The public records request coordinator shall have the authority to waive any charges allowed herein where the public interest so requires. 

Because of questions regarding the validity of requests for information from request fulfillment services, particularly those located outside the State of Tennessee, the City is not required to provide copies of public records through such entities. The City accepts electronic requests by direct electronic communication such as e-mail or the online form provided by the Department of Communications on the City’s web site. 

Requests for inspection and/or copying of public records, whether made in person at the offices of a City department or the public records request coordinator, or by mail, by phone or by e-mail or other direct electronic communication, may be handled in two different ways. Where a department has a designated office responsible for providing inspection or copying of public records in the ordinary course of business, and such requests are handled on a “while you wait” basis, records custodians may provide such access, including copies, without completing the standard (or the department’s specialized version of) the City of Knoxville Request for Inspection and Duplication of Public Records form. Records custodians shall maintain a register of all amounts collected for copying charges and shall handle any funds received in accordance with established City policy. 

All other requests to inspect or copy public records shall be directed by the receiving City employee to the public records request coordinator, who shall review all requests in a timely manner and respond (or direct the response of the appropriate records custodian) in accordance with state law and within the time frame set forth therein. Where public records requested include any information made confidential under state or federal law, the public records request coordinator shall work in coordination with the Law Department to ensure that confidential information is redacted prior to release.