Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-503(g), the following Public Records Policy for the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (herein after "MTA") and Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee is hereby adopted by MTA and RTA to provide economical and efficient access to public records as provided under the Tennessee Public Records Act (“TPRA”) in Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-501, et seq.
The TPRA provides that all state, county and municipal records shall, at all times during business hours, which for public hospitals shall be during the business hours of their administrative offices, be open for personal inspection by any citizen of this state, and those in charge of the records shall not refuse such right of inspection to any citizen, unless otherwise provided by state law. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-503(a)(2)(A). Accordingly, the public records of MTA are presumed to be open for inspection unless otherwise provided by law.
Personnel of MTA shall timely and efficiently provide access and assistance to persons requesting to view or receive copies of public records. No provisions of this Policy shall be used to hinder access to open public records. However, the integrity and organization of public records, as well as the efficient and safe operation of MTA, shall be protected as provided by current law. Concerns about this Policy should be addressed to the Public Records Request Coordinator for the MTA or to the Tennessee Office of Open Records Counsel (“OORC”).
This Policy is available for inspection and duplication in the office of the Chief Administrative Officer of MTA. This Policy is also posted online at www.nashvillemta.org and www.rtarelaxandride.org.
This Policy shall be applied consistently throughout the various offices, departments, and/or divisions of MTA.
- Records Custodian: The office, official, or employee lawfully responsible for the direct custody and care of a public record. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-503(a)(1)(C). The records custodian is not necessarily the original preparer or receiver of the record.
- Public Records: All documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, microfilms, electronic data processing files and output, films, sound recordings, or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any governmental agency. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-503(a)(1)(A).
- Public Records Request Coordinator: The individual, or individuals, designated in Section III, A.3 of this Policy who has, or have, the responsibility to ensure public record requests are routed to the appropriate records custodian and are fulfilled in accordance with the TPRA. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-503(a)(1)(B). The Public Records Request Coordinator may also be a records custodian.
- Requestor: A person seeking access to a public record, whether it is for inspection or duplication.
II. Requesting Access to Public Records
- Public record requests shall be made to the Public Records Request Coordinator (“PRRC”) or his/her designee in order to ensure public record requests are routed to the appropriate records custodian and fulfilled in a timely manner.
- Requests for inspection, but not copies, may be made orally at 430 Myatt Drive, Nashville, Tennessee 37115, may be made via email to [email protected], or may be made in writing using the attached Form.
- Requests for copies, or requests for inspection and copies, shall be made in writing using the attached Form, which provides additional instructions.
- Proof of Tennessee citizenship by presentation of a valid Tennessee driver’s license (or alternative acceptable form of ID) is required as a condition to inspect or receive copies of public records.
- As a general practice, the following records are routinely posted online:
MTA Board Meeting Notices
MTA Board Minutes
Requests for Proposals
III. Responding to Public Records Requests
- Public Record Request Coordinator
- The PRRC shall review public record requests and make an initial determination of the following:
- If the requestor provided evidence of Tennessee citizenship;
- If the records requested are described with sufficient specificity to identify them; and
- If MTA is the custodian of the records.
- The PRRC shall acknowledge receipt of the request and take any of the following appropriate action(s):
- Advise the requestor of this Policy and the elections made regarding:
- Proof of Tennessee citizenship;
- Form(s) required for copies;
- Fees (and labor threshold and waivers, if applicable); and
- Aggregation of multiple or frequent requests.
- If appropriate, deny the request in writing, providing the appropriate ground such as one of the following:
- The requestor is not, or has not presented evidence of being, a Tennessee citizen.
- The request lacks specificity.
- If any exemption makes the record not subject to disclosure under the TPRA. See attached list for examples of records that are exempt.
- MTA is not the custodian of the requested records.
- The records do not exist.
- If appropriate, contact the requestor to see if the request can be narrowed or clarified.
- The designated PRRC is:
- Name of the MTA Public Information Officer
- Contact information:
430 Myatt Drive, Nashville,Tennessee 37115
email: [email protected]
- Records Custodian
- Upon receiving a public records request forwarded by the PRRC, a records custodian shall promptly make requested public records available in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-503. If the records custodian is uncertain that an applicable exemption applies, the custodian may consult with the PRRC, counsel, or the OORC.
- If not practicable to promptly provide requested records because additional time is necessary to determine whether the requested records exist; to search for, retrieve, or otherwise gain access to records; to determine whether the records are open; to redact records; or for other similar reasons, then the records custodian shall consult with the PRRC or counsel.
- If a records custodian reasonably determines production of records should be segmented because the records request is for a large volume of records, or additional time is necessary to prepare the records for access, the PRRC shall use the Public Records Request Response Form to notify the requestor that production of the record will be in segments and that a records production schedule will be provided as expeditiously as practicable. If appropriate, the PRRC should contact the requestor to see if the request can be narrowed.
- If the PRRC determines that records are exempt from disclosure, he or she shall deny the request in writing using the Public Records Request Response Form.
- If a records custodian discovers records responsive to a records request were omitted, the records custodian should notify the PRRC who shall contact the requestor concerning the omission and produce the records as quickly as practicable.
- If a record contains confidential information or information that is not open for public inspection, the records custodian shall prepare a redacted copy prior to providing access. If questions arise concerning redaction, the records custodian should coordinate with counsel or other appropriate parties regarding review and redaction of records. The records custodian and the PRRC may also consult with the OORC.
- Whenever a redacted record is provided, the PRRC should provide the requestor with the basis for redaction. The basis given for redaction shall be general in nature and not disclose confidential information.
IV. Inspection of Records
- There shall be no charge for inspection of public records, unless the law allows for such charge.
- The location for inspection of records within the offices of MTA should be determined by the PRRC.
- The PRRC or a records custodian may require an appointment for inspection or may require inspection of records at an alternate location.
V. Copies of Records
- The PRRC shall promptly respond to a public record request for copies in the most economic and efficient manner practicable.
- Copies will be available for pickup at a location specified by the records custodian.
- Upon payment for postage when required, copies will be delivered to the requestor’s home address by the United States Postal Service. Copies may also be made available by email upon request if the PRRC determines it to be a feasible option.
- A requestor will NOT be allowed to make copies of records with personal equipment.
VI. Fees and Charges and Procedures for Billing and Payment
- Fees and charges for copies of public records should not be used to hinder access to public records.
- Records custodians shall provide requestors with an itemized estimate of the charges prior to producing copies of records and may require pre-payment of such charges before producing requested records.
- When fees for copies, labor, and postage do not exceed $5.00, the fees may be waived in the discretion of the PRRC. Fees associated with aggregated records requests will not be waived.
- Fees and charges for copies are as follows:
- $0.15 per page for letter- and legal-size black and white copies.
- $0.50 per page for letter- and legal-size color copies.
- Other: _________________________________________________
- Labor, as determined by the OORC schedule of reasonable charges.
- If an outside vendor is used, the actual costs assessed by the vendor.
- Payment is to be made in cash or cashier’s check payable to Nashville MTA.
- Payment in advance will be required when costs are estimated to exceed $5.
- Aggregation of Frequent and Multiple Requests
- MTA will aggregate record requests in accordance with the Frequent and Multiple Request Policy promulgated by the OORC when more than four requests are received within a calendar month.
- The PRRC is responsible for making the determination that a group of individuals are working in concert. The PRRC or the records custodian must inform the individuals that they have been deemed to be working in concert and that they have the right to appeal the decision to the OORC.
- Once the aggregation threshold is met, the records custodian is no longer required to deduct the labor threshold set forth in the Schedule of Reasonable Charges or any other minimum charge per request threshold that would ordinarily be waived.
- MTA will also enforce laws regarding public records access for persons who make requests for inspection but fail to review the records or for persons who fail to pay the costs for producing copies.