Right-to-Know

Right-to-Know

File a Request

If you wish to file a Right-to-Know request you may do so here.

First time requesters are encouraged to read the information provided below prior to making your request. 

Presumption of Openness

Under the Right-To-Know Law, all records are presumed to be public records unless disclosure is barred by: (1) state or federal law or regulation; (2) judicial order; (3), privilege, e.g., attorney-client or doctor-patient; or (4) one of the exceptions in Section 708 of the Right-to-Know Law.

The Borough must establish why the record is not available.

Any political subdivision, intermediate unit, or charter, public trade or vocational school [or] any local, intergovernmental, regional or municipal agency, authority, council, board commission or similar governmental entity is subject to Right-to-Know Law.

Definition of Records

A record is defined as “any information regardless of its physical form or character that documents a transaction or activity of an agency and is created, received, or retained pursuant to law or in connection with a transaction, business or activity of an agency.”

Records can take many forms, including papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, film or sound recordings, information stored or maintained electronically, and data-processed or image-processed documents. Note that e-mails can also be a form of public records, subject to any exceptions.

Information Protected from Disclosure

All agency records are subject to the Right-to-Know Law. However, not all records are public records. The law contains 30 exceptions, cited in Section 708, that permit an Agency to withhold records. An Agency may deny release of a record if it falls within one of the 30 exceptions designed to protect information that is confidential or may jeopardize safety or investigations. Types of records that can be withheld include records related to personal or public security:

  • DNA/RNA records
  • Autopsy records
  • Social Security numbers
  • Personal financial information
  • Personal email addresses
  • Marital status
  • Identity of a covert law enforcement officer
  • Home address of judges or law enforcement
  • Confidential source records
  • Victim information

Other laws also make certain records non-public.

What to Expect from the Borough

The Borough has five business days to respond in writing to: (1) grant the request; (2) deny the request, citing the legal basis for the denial or partial denial; or (3) invoke a 30-calendar day extension for certain reasons.

The clock starts the day after the RTK request is received during regular business hours. In other words, the borough has five business days to respond to a request, whether you place the request in person or by mail.

Acceptable grounds for a 30-calendar day extension include: off-site location of records, staffing limitations, need for legal review or redaction, complex request, or the requester did not pay applicable fees as required or failed to follow agency policy.

If the borough does not respond to a request in the allotted time, the request is deemed denied, and you have the right to file an appeal with the Office of Open Records.

File an Appeal

If the Borough denies the request for a record, or a portion of the record, the requester can file an appeal to the Office of Open Records. More details on filing an appeal can be found here.

Fees

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Penalties

If the Borough denies records in bad faith the court can fine them up to $1,500 and up to $500 a day for every day the Borough does not comply with the court order to release the records.

Attorney Fees

If a court holds that records were denied based on an unreasonable interpretation of law, or in bad faith, an Agency can be required to pay attorneys’ fees. In addition, if an appeal is deemed frivolous by the court, the requester or agency can be required to pay attorneys’ fees.

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