Make a Public Records Request
As of November 17, 2015, the County of Mendocino uses NextRequest to facilitate a public records request. In most cases your request will be fulfilled within 10 days. You can review previous requests and responsive documents, or submit your own new request for public documents. Start your communication with the County of Mendocino by clicking on the image below.
Regarding Access to Public Records
The California Public Records Act declares that access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in the state because it gives the public an opportunity to monitor the functioning of their government. It is the county’s goal to provide the public with timely access to its public records.
Is a Public Record
The California Government Code defines public records as, “…any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristic.” For example, public records can include, but are not limited to, papers, books, maps, charts, photographs, audiotapes, videotapes, and information stored on a computer.
What are the County’s Public Records
The Public Records Act applies to the records of the county and all agencies, boards, and commissions created by the County’s Board of Supervisors.
Who Can Request Public Records
Anyone may make a request to inspect or obtain a copy of a public record. A requester is not required to provide any personal identification or reason for the request.
What Can Already Be Found Online
Beyond records held by the departments, there may be additional related records that have already been uploaded to the County’s web page. The following list summarizes the most requested examples of public records that may be available in electronic format:
Another helpful resource is the “Search” tab located on the top menu of the County’s web page. This function allows for a keyword search of individual departments or the entire site. Possible information that may be found include Board agenda summaries and minutes, contracts, policies, department information, etc.
What Is Not a Public Record
California Government Code section 6254 provides a partial list of records that may be exempt from disclosure. Some of the types of records that are potentially exempt include:
- Personnel records, medical records and similar files which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy if publicly disclosed;
- Records pertaining to pending litigation to which a public agency is a party;
- Preliminary drafts, notes and memorandum;
- Records of complaints to or investigations conducted by a police agency;
- Records covered by the attorney-client privilege;
- Examination data used to administer a licensing, employment or academic examination;
- Medi-cal personal identifiable information;
- HIPAA protected information; and
- Criminal history information.
to Find or Request County Records
Individuals may request records directly from the County department that has the records you are seeking. If you are not sure which department has the records you are seeking, you can use the following resources to help identify the correct department:
- County Website: The County’s website contains an alphabetical listing of departments with links to their web page.
- NextRequest: the County of Mendocino uses NextRequest to
facilitate a public records request. Start your communication by visiting Mendocino County's Public Records Portal.
- Executive Office: The Executive Office staff is familiar with the County’s departments and may be able to help you identify the department that has the records you are seeking. The Executive Office can be reached at 707-463-4441 or you can visit the office during regular business hours at 501 Low Gap Road, Room 1010 in Ukiah.
Once you have identified the County department that you believe has the records you are seeking, you may request the records from it in the following ways:
- By visiting the front counter of a department: Each County department will have a staff person to assist the public with walk-in requests during regular business hours.
- By telephone: Each County department has a telephone number that the public can call during regular business hours to make requests or to be referred to a County employee who can help with the request.
- When submitting a request by one of these methods, it is recommended to provide contact information to enable staff to respond to your request. You may submit a completed form to the proper department to help expedite your request:
Tips to Expedite a Request
- To speed up your request, make your request as specific as possible about the records you are seeking. For example, you may want to provide a date range for your request, the department or staff that created the requested records, and/or any helpful keywords. You may complete and submit a Public Records Request Form (link above) to the appropriate department to help expedite your request.
- Provide contact information or arrange to call or meet with a department representative at a later time to discuss the availability of the requested records.
- Let the County department know whether you would like to inspect the records or have copies made (which may involve a cost - see final section, below).
Each County department will respond directly to requests it receives. If a department receives a request for records that it does not possess, it will notify you that it has no responsive records and, if it can do so, will forward the request to departments that may possess the requested records.
You Can Expect a Response
Upon receiving a request for records that reasonably describes an identifiable record or records, County staff will make every reasonable effort to make the records promptly available to you upon the payment of any applicable fees. If County staff cannot respond immediately, they will let you know when you can reasonably expect a response. The County has up to 10 days within which to provide a record. In certain circumstances, the County can extend the time for up to 14 days and must be evidence in writing setting forth the reasons for the delay and the expected date of determination.
Requested Records Are Ready
After you receive a response from the County Department concerning the availability of the requested records, you can arrange to inspect the records or have them copied:
- Inspection - If you wish to inspect the records and have provided contact information, a department representative will contact you to make an appointment to inspect the records. If you have not provided the department with contact information, you will need to call or return to the department to arrange for inspection of the records.
- Copies - If you wish to obtain copies of records and have provided contact information, a department representative will contact you with a time and cost estimate for producing the requested records. You may, upon payment of applicable fees, pick up the records when they become available or have them mailed to you. If you have not provided the Department with contact information, you will need to call or return to the Department to arrange for payment of duplication fees and pick up of the records.
Potential Costs to Obtain Public Records
There is no charge to review records; however, County policy permits the County to charge a fee to cover any duplication, electronic media, data system programming costs, and/or other applicable direct costs. Data system programming costs related to extracting, compiling, and displaying data are dependent on the request and the system on which data is stored, and will vary on a case-by-case basis.