In order to request access to government records under OPRA, you must complete all the required portions of and date the OPRA request form (download form below) and deliver it in person during regular business hours or by mail, fax or electronically to the appropriate custodian of the record requested. Your request is not considered filed until the appropriate custodian of the record requested has received a completed request form. If you submit the request form to any other officer or employee of the Borough of Franklin, that officer or employee may not have the authority to accept your request form on behalf of the Borough of Franklin and your request will be directed to the appropriate division custodian or deputy custodian. The seven business day response time will not commence until the proper custodian reviews the request to determine if it is complete.
OPEN PUBLIC RECORDS ACT
The Open Public Records Act provides that the “custodian of a government record” means “in the case of a municipality, the municipal clerk.” This simple phrase has created some concern in municipal government circles about the role of the municipal clerk and the clerk’s relationship to other officials. The concern is rooted in the reality that other officials have statutorily defined responsibilities, which in most cases, include maintenance and custody of specific types of records.
Such officials include, but are not limited to, police chief, chief financial officer, tax collector, tax assessor, chief construction official, and health officer. In these cases, responsibility over maintenance of records is an inherent part of the responsibility of the official. Some observers have commented that the assignment of “custodian” responsibilities under OPRA to the municipal clerk conflicts with the inherent record-keeping responsibilities of other municipal officials.
A core purpose of OPRA is to provide “one-stop shopping” to the public when it comes to access to local government records. It appears that one of the problems the law was intended to address was the variety of municipal government forms, different office hours and locations of officials, and a general perception that it was difficult for the public and press to access municipal government records.
By designating the Municipal Clerk as the contact person for all informational requests under OPRA, the legislature intended to promote the “one-stop shopping” concept.
To facilitate speedy citizen access to records the Franklin Borough Municipal Clerk appointed the following departmental officials as Deputy Records Custodians for Franklin Borough on August 13, 2009.
- Keith W. Utter, Construction Official; for any requests for Franklin Borough Construction Records. Location: Hardyston Twp. Construction Office, 149 Wheatsworth Road, Hardyston, NJ 07419. Phone: 973-823-7020 ext 9451, Fax: 973-823-7023
- Eugene McInerney, Chief of Police; for any requests for Franklin Borough Police Records. Location: Franklin Borough Police Department, 15 Corkhill Road, Franklin, NJ 07416 Phone: 973-827-7700 Fax: 973-827-1486
- Maureen Flack, Sussex County Health Department Representative; for any request for Franklin Borough Health Department Records. Location: Sussex County Administrative Center, 1 Spring Street, Newton, NJ 07860 Phone: 973-579-0370 Fax: 973-579-0399
Records from these departments are kept at the above referenced locations and therefore are not immediately accessible to the Municipal Clerk. With the appointment of these Deputy Records Custodians, the public will now have the option to submit OPRA requests directly to these departments to gain quicker access to the records or to the Franklin Borough Municipal Clerk who will forward the OPRA request to the proper Deputy Records Custodian upon receipt.