Obtaining Info & Records : Frequently Asked Questions

Your questions and comments are always welcome and help to ensure that you receive the best service.  Please contact us with any questions, comments, and suggestions: City Clerk Department, (510) 981-6900, clerk@CityofBerkeley.info.

  1. How can I find out when and where the City Council and Commissions meet?
  2. How can I get a copy of City Council Agendas, Staff Reports and Summaries?
  3. How can I obtain copies of Commission Agendas and Minutes?
  4. How do I request information and/or records from the City?
  5. Where do I go to request information and records?
  6. How much do copies cost?
  7. How are records on the Records Retention Schedule grouped?
  8. Are all the records listed on the Records Retention Schedule public records?
  9. What are some records that cannot be disclosed?
  10. Does the Public Records Act apply to all City departments, agencies, boards and commissions?
  11. Where can I obtain a copy of the Public Records Act?
  12. I made a request for information and/or records and have not received a response. What can I do? 


 

1. How can I find out when and where the City Council and Commissions meet?

 City Council and Commission meeting information is posted on the Community Calendar, http://www.CityofBerkeley.info/CalendarEventMain.aspx.  Additional information can be obtained by accessing the City Council Home Page (http://www.CityofBerkeley.info/CityCouncil) and the Commission Home Page (http://www.CityofBerkeley.info/Commissions).

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2. How can I get a copy of City Council Agendas, Staff Reports and Summaries?

 City Council agendas, summaries and staff reports are posted on the web, and may be accessed from the City Council Home Page, http://www.CityofBerkeley.info/CityCouncil.  Live, close-captioned broadcast of these meetings, including video archives, are also available from this page. There is no charge to review tapes of City Council meetings at the City Clerk Department.

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3. How can I obtain copies of Commission Agendas and Minutes?

Commission Agendas and Minutes are posted on the web at http://www.CityofBerkeley.info/Commissions.  Agenda reports and communications can be obtained from the commission secretary.

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4. How do I request information and/or records from the City?

For a detailed discussion on how to request information and/or records from the City, please see the web page, How to Request Information or Records from the City.

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5. Where do I go to request information and records?

It depends on what records you want.  In general, if you know what records you want and the department that maintains the records, talk to the staff or department director of that department.  The more you know about the record you wish to see, the easier it will be for the custodian to retrieve it.  You can also use tools posted on this website such as the City Services Directory, or Records Retention Schedule.  If you require additional assistance navigating and accessing information from the City, contact the City Clerk Department.

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6. How much do copies cost?

No fee is charged to view records.  The cost for reproducing standard documents is 10 cents per page and 20 cents per page for double-sided copies.  Documents outside the standard 8.5 x 11" format are charged at the same cost for reproducing those documents.  Check with the department that is reproducing the records for a cost estimate.

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7. How are records on the Records Retention Schedule grouped?

The Records Retention Schedule is organized by department.  Records listed within each department are grouped together by division and/or function.  Records are further categorized under each group or “series” by type. 

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8. Are all the records listed on the Records Retention Schedule public records?

Generally, all City records are accessible to the public.  However, federal, state and local laws prohibit or restrict the disclosure of a limited category of documents.  If you request to review records in those categories, you may not be able to review these records.  If you are denied access to any records, the department or City Attorney will state the legal basis for the exemption.

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9. What are some records that cannot be disclosed?

  • Some exceptions to disclosure include but are not limited to:
  • Inter- or intra-agency “advisory, consultative or deliberative material;”
  • Any record within the attorney-client privilege;
  • Records pertaining to litigation under the California Tort Claims Act to which the City of Berkeley is a party;
  • Information which, if disclosed, would give an advantage to competitors or bidders;
  • Personnel records, medical records and similar files which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy if publicly disclosed;
  • Documents protected from disclosure by the State Constitutional Right to Privacy;
  • Certain law enforcement records including records of complaints to or investigations conducted by any state or local police agency;
  • Criminal history records;
  • Initiative, referendum and recall petitions;
  • Records protected from disclosure by state and federal laws; and
  • Certain documents in which the public interest in not disclosing the document outweighs the public interest in disclosing.

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10. Does the Public Records Act apply to all City departments, agencies, boards and commissions?

The Public Records Act applies to all City agencies, boards and commissions created by the City Charter or by Ordinance or Resolution adopted by the City Council.

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11. Where can I obtain a copy of the Public Records Act?

A copy of the Public Records Act is accessible from this site; please see Additional Resources.

Alternatively, you can obtain a copy of the Public Records Act from your local law library by asking for California Government Code Sections 6250 - 6277.

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12. I made a request for records and/or information and have not received a response.  What can I do?

You should first follow up with the department director.  If the department still has not responded, you should contact us and we will follow up for you.

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