What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?
Chapter 100 of Title 29 of the Delaware Code, the Freedom of Information Act, states that “it is vital in a democratic society that public business be performed in an open and public manner so that our citizens shall have the opportunity to observe the performance of public officials and to monitor the decisions that are made by such officials in formulating and executing public policy”.
It further specifies that “all public records shall be open to inspection and copying by any citizen of the State during regular business hours by the custodian of the records for the appropriate public body. Reasonable access to and reasonable facilities for copying of these records shall not be denied to any citizen”.
What is a public record?
FOIA defines a public record as “information of any kind, owned, made, used, retained, produced, composed, drafted or otherwise compiled or collected, by any public body, relating in any way to public business, or in any way of public interest, or in any way related to public purposes, regardless of the physical form or characteristic by which such information is stored, recorded or reproduced”.
FOIA grants exemption from the definition of “public record” to certain documents, and these records are not subject to public disclosure under FOIA. A complete list of exempted records is included in Title 29, Chapter 100, §10002(l) of the Delaware Code. Some of the commonly exempted documents include personnel records, investigatory files compiled for civil or criminal law-enforcement purposes, trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person which is of a privileged or confidential nature, records involving labor negotiations or collective bargaining, etc.
Who can I contact for further Information about FOIA requests?
The Town Clerk is responsible for coordinating all FOIA requests. In order for your request to be considered, we ask that you complete the FOIA Request form (PDF Format) and return it to our office or fill out our Online FOIA form here.