|As a result of the Governor’s April 6, 2020 Executive Order (Order) No. 2020-38, the City of Novi (“City”) will continue to fulfill Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the extent possible due to the circumstances arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic and subject to the procedures set forth in this notice, which are based on that Order.
Pursuant to the Governor’s Order, “strict compliance” with some FOIA response requirements has been temporarily suspended. The City now has ten (10) business days to respond to a FOIA request or appeal received via mail, hand-delivery, or fax. That time period begins when a City employee physically opens the envelope containing the request or appeal, or takes a faxed request or appeal from the fax machine, not the dates when requests are considered to be received under the FOIA. The City will provide written notice to the requestor should compliance with any of the current COVID-19 emergency orders preclude the City from providing a response within the new timeline.
Additionally, if the FOIA request requires “in-person efforts” to prepare the response, e.g. search, examination and copying of documents, then the City may defer responding to that portion of the request until the expiration and/or any extension of the Order and will provide written notification to the requestor explaining the reasons for the deferral. If a requestor informs the City in writing they want to revise their FOIA request to exclude the portions requiring “in-person efforts”, then the City will respond to the request for records that would not require such efforts within the time frames set forth in MCL 15.235. Finally, the City will continue to respond to all public records request submitted and seeking records via email or website submission, that do not require “in-person” efforts within the statute’s current guidelines set forth in MCL 15.235.
The City will follow the above procedures and adhere to the Governor’s Order through its effective date of June 4, 2020 and/or any extension of the Order’s duration.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is the Federal law that provides access to public records, except for those protected from disclosure under the Act. To request records, please visit the FOIA Request Center website.
FOIA Request Center Launched
In an effort to enhance transparency for the public, the City of Novi recently launched the FOIA Request Center. The FOIA Request Center will help the City of Novi track records requests across multiple departments, standardize records processing and fulfill requests in a timely manner. Also, help City of Novi better understand the direct costs associated with the records processing.
With this easily accessible web portal the public can be sure it is receiving complete and accurate records in a reasonable time frame. It allows requester to submit a new request, track the progress and receive updates by email. The requestor can also read any correspondence or notes about specific requests and download electronic records deliverables.
Requestors can continue to contact City of Novi, MI officials in person, in writing or by email, but the requests will be tracked internally through the new application.
The City has five business days to respond if the request is submitted in person, through the mail or submitted electronically (not counting the day the request is received).
If necessary, the City may issue a ten-day extension, which allows ten additional business days to search for the requested information.
Charges may include the hourly wage, or a portion thereof, of the lowest paid employee capable of performing the search, the costs of copying and retrieval of offsite records.
If research and copying costs exceed $50, a good faith deposit of no more than 50% of the final cost may be required.