Guidelines for Requesting Public Records Act Requests
Public records in the possession of the California State Auditor's Office that are not exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act and other applicable laws are available for inspection or copying pursuant to these guidelines.
Requesting Inspection or Copies of Public Records
Requests should be sufficiently specific and focused to enable identification, location, and retrieval of the public records being sought and should identify specific dates or a time period, include document or audit titles, describe the subject in adequate detail, and list other pertinent information when known. Additionally, the request should indicate whether the requester prefers to inspect records or wants copies.
For requests that are not sufficiently specific, the Public Records Act coordinator will assist the requester in identifying the requested information, describe how the records are maintained or their physical location, and provide suggestions of how to overcome practical barriers to disclosure.
The California State Auditor's Office does not supplement responses to previous requests when new records are created or received. A separate request must be submitted each time records are sought.
To ensure accuracy in responding to a request for public records, the California State Auditor's Office encourages, but does not require, requesters to submit requests in writing, including facsimile or by electronic mail. Requests may also be made orally, by telephone, or in person. When requests are made orally, the Public Records Act coordinator may confirm the request in writing to ensure the request has been understood correctly. Please direct requests to:
California State Auditor
Public Records Act Coordinator
621 Capitol Mall, Suite 1200
Sacramento, California 95814
Business: (916) 445-0255 Fax: (916) 323-0913
Responding to a California Public Records Act Request
The California State Auditor's Office will determine within 10 calendar days of receipt of a California Public Records Act request the extent to which it will disclose any records pursuant to the request. The office will promptly notify the person making the request of its determination.
However, due to the rapidly changing situation with COVID-19, we may not be able to respond within 10 calendar days. Sacramento and surrounding cities and counties have been advised to shelter in place when possible. In response to advice from public health experts and for the safety of our employees, we have implemented a short-term voluntary emergency telework program where appropriate and are working with only a small number of employees in the office to ensure social distancing. We will try to respond to your request as quickly as possible, but due to the current situation, we may be unable to respond for several weeks. We believe in government transparency and will do our very best, but we ask for your patience and understanding as the world grapples with rapidly changing emergency events. We hope you and your loved ones remain safe.
Public Records Exempt From Disclosure
The California State Auditor's Office may refuse to disclose records that are exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act (see, for example, Gov. Code §6254 and §6255). Additionally, the California State Auditor's Office is subject to any limitations on release of information as it may apply to an employee or officer of an auditee (see Gov. Code §8545.1 and §8545.2). In regards to the California Whistleblower Protection Act (see Gov. Code §8547.7), the California State Auditor's Office is prohibited from releasing records generated by the California State Auditor's Office or collected in connection with an investigation conducted by the California State Auditor's Office. Further, pursuant to Gov. Code §8545.1, it is a misdemeanor for any representative of the California State Auditor's Office to disclose any records the disclosure of which is restricted by law from release to the public.
Inspecting Public Records
Public records in the possession of the California State Auditor's Office that are not exempt from disclosure shall be available for inspection during normal business hours of the California State Auditor's Office (8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday). However, because many of the California State Auditor's Office's records require the retrieval, review, and redaction of exempt information before they can be disclosed to the public, a mutually agreeable time should be established for inspection of records. The inspection of public records is subject to a rule of reason as to time and duration so that California State Auditor's Office functions will not be disrupted. Records will not be available for inspection during periods when the records are required by California State Auditor's Office personnel in the performance of their duties. Records may not be removed from the possession of the California State Auditor's Office. An California State Auditor's Office employee will be present during the inspection of records to prevent the loss or destruction of records.
Obtaining Copies of Public Records
Copies of public records that are not exempt from disclosure will be provided at a cost of 10 cents per page for duplication. However, charges are waived if the total cost is less than $5. After the California State Auditor's Office determines the number of pages of records responsive to a request to be copied, the California State Auditor's Office may require the requester to pay the duplication costs before the copies are made and provided. The California State Auditor's Office does not accept payment of estimated duplication costs at the time a request is submitted.
Obtaining Electronic Copies of Public Records
At the time the request is received, if public records exist in an electronic format and the requester prefers that format, the California State Auditor's Office can copy those public records that are not exempt from disclosure onto a compact disk (CD). Moreover, the California State Auditor's Office may be able to remit public records through electronic mail if the records being requested are not a sizable amount.