Recently some have inquired as to how to make a Public Document Request. ( PDR ) It is rather simple really and then not so simple all at the same time. So here are my guidelines I developed for myself in the past two years.
First: Ask once politely in writing for the information you need. Direct the correspondence to the Regional staffer you feel has the information. Wait two weeks.
Second: Again ask politely in writing for the information you need. Direct the correspondence to the Regional staffer you feel has the information. Wait 3 weeks.
Third: Write a PDR request for the information and the example below has the contact person and address. Now keep it simple and as direct as possible but one needs to make sure you do not leave a gap ( wiggle room ) or you can bet your sweet bippy they will be misunderstanding or reinterpreting your request. Not the PDO officer below but rather the staff that did not want to respond in the first place. Another issue with WDF&W is the fact that when the state legislature appropriated funding for implementing the PDR process it appears they did the minimum possible ( and I mean minimum ) to comply. This has now created the issue for WDF&W staff to even find the electronic documents requested. Paper documents? The farther back in time your request goes the greater the difficulty as WDF&W did not code or utilize a tracking system for documents.
Now one does not want to throw to wide of a loop as then you will get a paper blizzard. What is a paper blizzard? You get the documents your really after buried among hundreds to thousands of other documents to sort through which is known as " dumpster diving ". The agency your requesting information from does not have to make it easy for you.
My final rule is get somebody to help / look over your work. For years I used my wife, now my brother. Two sets of eyes are better than one and even better if you know a retired agency staffer who will help you out and I have that one three times over.
It is your right as a citizen to require a government entity to make documents available to the public ( the exception being attorney / client documents ) but one should not abuse the right. On the other hand you're not required to accept blindly the utter BS that comes out of agency staffers and lord those folks know how to shovel fertilizer! One final thing is all state documents are Microsoft programs ( a few exceptions like Adobe exist ) so if your a Mac person get ready as the PC v Apple thing is still hanging around! Oh almost forgot. Make sure your complete contact information is provided on the request. ( cell / home phone / email / snail mail )
June 19, 2014
Public Disclosure Officer
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1099
1111 Washington Street S.E., Olympia, WA 98504
This is a request for public records. Please forward to me in electronic form any and all communication records of any kind that were created, transmitted or received by the Department, its staff, or the Fish & Wildlife Commission related to the following:
1. Development, adoption or implementation of the new fisheries policy for Grays Harbor that was adopted by the WDF&W Commission (POL-C3621) that were transmitted or received from the date of adoption (February 8, 2014) to July 19, 2014;
2. The creation, drafting, filing, or processing of the 2014 Grays Harbor fall commercial fishing season that were transmitted or received from March 6, 2013 to July 19, 2014.
3. Co-management in Grays Harbor with the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN) of fishing harvest including, but not limited to, any tribal or non-tribal seasons proposed or considered by either the Department or the QIN that were transmitted or received between January 1, 2013 to July 19, 2014.
“Communication records” includes, but are not limited to, any voice mails, text messaging, emails, letters, meeting minutes, conversation notes, created, transmitted, received, or acquired.
Feel free to contact me if you have a need for any clarification.
Posted on Mon, August 25, 2014
by Dave Hamilton