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Right-to-Know-Law (Open Records)

Requesting Upper Saucon Township Records

1. Determine Which Agency to Ask
The first step to filing an effective RTK request is to determine which agency is most likely to have the records you’re interested in. For example, if you’re interested in seeing records about the cost of snow removal in Upper Saucon Township, you would contact us. If you’re interested in snow removal costs on Interstate 78, the best agency would be PennDOT. 

This step is absolutely vital. Asking the wrong agency for records will cost you time.

2. Find the Agency Open Records Officer
Every agency, whether local or Commonwealth, is required by the Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) to appoint an Agency Open Records Officer (AORO). Some agencies refer to this person as a Right-to-Know Officer, but the function is the same. This is the person you should address your request to.

Upper Saucon Open Records Officer:

Mr. Thomas F Beil
5500 Camp Meeting Road
Center Valley, PA 18034
Phone: 610-282-1107
Fax: 610-282-3557
Email: tbeil@uppersaucon.org

3. Prepare and Submit the Request
Some agencies have their own RTK Request Forms. Whenever possible, it’s best to use the agency’s form. Upper Saucon Township uses the OOR’s Standard RTK Request Form, which is available here in a Fillable PDF (Note: Fill out the pdf, then print it. It does not automatically submit tot the Township) and Word versions:

You can file a RTK request in four ways:

Email
Fax
U.S. Mail
In Person
No matter how you submit the request, be sure to address it to the Open Records Officer.

Make sure your request for records is specific and concise. Identify the records you want as specifically as you can, so that an agency can quickly locate them and determine whether they are public record.

Don’t ask questions. The RTKL is designed to provide access to records; it does not require agencies to answer questions. For example, do not submit a RTK request saying, “Why didn’t my street get plowed until a day after the latest snow storm?” A better RTK request would be, “I’m seeking records regarding the snowplowing schedule in this municipality. If possible, specific records related to the snowplowing schedule for Main Street would be ideal.”

Filing a request is always free, but you may be required to pay certain fees before receiving or inspecting your records.

Finally, when submitting a RTK request to an agency, always retain a copy for your file. A copy of your RTK request will be necessary if you’re denied access to any records and decide to file an appeal to the Office of Open Records. If you don’t have a copy of the request, the OOR has no choice but to dismiss the appeal as insufficient.

4. Filing an Appeal

If you submit a Right-to-Know request to a state or local agency in Pennsylvania and your request is denied, you can file an appeal with the Office of Open Records. There is no fee, and you do not need an attorney.

All appeals must be made in writing and must be submitted to the Office of Open Records within 15 business days from the mailing date of the Agency’s response or the date that the request was deemed denied. If that timeframe expires before you provide the required information to the OOR, you lose your right to appeal and may need to file a new RTK request with the Agency.

Submitting an Appeal to the OOR

The simplest and best way to prepare an appeal is to use the online version of the official OOR Appeal Form. The OOR Appeal Form can be used to appeal full denials, partial denials, and deemed denials (i.e., when the agency doesn’t respond by the deadline), as well as to appeal any fees being charged by the agency.

To file an appeal under the Right-to-Know Law, a requester must provide all of the following:
• A copy of the RTK request.
• A copy of the Agency’s response (or a notation that the request was “deemed denied,” meaning the Agency didn’t respond at all).
• A written statement explaining the grounds on which the requester asserts that the record is a public record.
• A written statement addressing any grounds stated by the agency for denying the request.
Using the online version of the official OOR Appeal Form will walk you through the process, step by step.

Appeals may also be submitted via fax (717-425-5343) or postal mail:

Office of Open Records
333 Market Street, 16th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101-2234

In-person submissions are accepted at the Office of Open Records, 333 Market Street, 16th Floor, Harrisburg, PA, during normal business hours.The deadline for an appeal submitted electronically (email or fax) is 11:59:59 p.m. on the 15th business day from the mailing date of the Agency’s response or the date that the request was deemed denied. For in-person submissions and submissions via postal mail, the deadline is 5:00 p.m. on the 15th business day.

Additional Information for Right to Know:

Pennsylvania Office of Open Records

Upper Saucon Right to Know Policy

Commonly Requested Records from the PA OOR