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Freedom Of Information Act


The Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires that public bodies grant full and complete access to information regarding the affairs of their operations. This Act provides for public access to certain records; permits certain fees; prescribes the powers and duties of certain public officers; and provides remedies, penalties and repeals to certain acts and parts of acts.

The Freedom of Information Act is designed to implement a strong state policy that all records maintained by government, unless exempted, are to be made available to the public upon request. As a public body, South Haven Area Emergency Services Authority (SHAES) is required to assure that all persons (except those incarcerated in state or local correctional facilities) are entitled to full and complete information if the procedures of the Act are followed. Information covered under the FOIA include business transactions and paperwork maintained, received and generated as part of the Fire Authority.

The Purpose of this policy is to:

  1. Assure compliance with the Freedom of Information Act by South Haven Area Emergency Services Authority.
  2. Formulate a comprehensive policy that will be applicable regarding the dissemination of information pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (MCL.14.231 et.Sec) (Public Act 533 of 1996), as amended.
  3. Communicate to South Haven Area Emergency Services Authority Board members, command staff, fulltime employees, paid on call staff and the public the formal policy on Freedom of Information request.


  1. FOIA Officer - The Executive Director, or his/her designee, is the designated FOIA Officer with authorization by South Haven Area Emergency Services Authority Board to accept and process requests for public records and to approve denials under this act.
  2. Routine FOIA requests for departmental information may be received and processed by SHAES fulltime staff members. The FOIA Officer shall be notified of any extraordinary requests prior to processing. (Extraordinary examples: a large volume of material, information requested covers many years, and may require considerable staff/computer time, etc.). Requests for departmental information that is furnished to the general public through normal operations should not be treated as a FOIA request. This includes information readily available on the department website, pamphlets, loose-leaf publications, and other printed materials (e.g. reports) produced for public information and disclosure. In addition, departmental guidelines, manuals and forms, adopted or used by the agency in the discharge of its functions should also be made available without a FOIA request.
  3. All denials under this act must be authorized by the FOIA Officer and must cite the reason for denial.
  4. Requests under the Freedom of Information Act must meet the following requirements:
    1. All FOIA requests must be submitted in writing. If you require assistance with writing or translating, please contact the FOIA Officer. Individuals can submit their requests in letter format or complete and return a Request for Information form (form attached) and also available on the SHAES website at Requests received by facsimile, electronic mail or other electronic means are considered received the first business day following the transmittal.
    2. The requested information must be identifiable. The written request should describe the public record sufficiently to enable the public body to find the public record.
    3. The requested document and/or information must exist.
    4. The requested records should NOT be exempt from disclosure under the Act as referenced in FOIA 15.243, Section 13 (see attachment).
    5. The FOIA request can be a single (one-time) request or a renewable subscription request (information disseminated on a regular basis for up to six months).
    6. Prisoners in state, county or federal correctional facilities are not entitled to make requests.
  5. Requests received from attorneys may be forwarded to Legal Counsel for information, and if deemed necessary, for action.


  1. SHAES Executive Director shall determine the scope of the FOIA request (e.g. the time required to search for, examine, separate/delete exempt information, and/or copy the requested records).
  2. SHAES may charge fees for reproducing requested records in accordance with Section 4 of the FOIA.
    1. The Executive Director should use the established FOIA fees as outlined in the attached fee schedule to estimate the cost of providing the requested information.
    2. The first $20 of a fee shall be waived for a person who receives public assistance or presents facts showing inability to pay because of Indigency.
    3. The FOIA Officer shall periodically review and recommend FOIA fee adjustments to South Haven Area Emergency Services Authority Board. Approved fees shall be communicated to all Departments Employees and Board Members.
  3. In accordance with the Act (Reference 15.235, Section 5.2): Unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the person making the request, the Executive Director, or his/her designee shall respond to the FOIA request within 5 business days on the FOIA Policy Response Form (attached and available on the department shared drive), by doing one of the following:
    1. Process and grant the request.
    2. Issue a written notice to deny the request.
    3. Grant the request in part and issue a written notice to deny the request in part.
    4. Under unusual circumstances (See FOIA 15.232, Section 2.g), issue a notice to extend the response period by 10 business days.
    5. If the cost of the request is expected to exceed $50, issue a notice to the requestor to provide a 50% good faith deposit prior to processing the request.


  1. Each fulltime staff member that processes FOIA information shall establish and maintain a FOIA log to track and record related details to verify the following:
    1. Compliance with FOIA 15.233, Section 3.2 - A copy of all written FOIA requests for public records should be kept on file for no less than 1 year.
    2. Compliance with FOIA 15.235, Section 5.2 - A public body shall respond to a request for a public record within 5 business days after its receipt.
    3. Compliance with FOIA 15.234, Section 4.3 - Fees shall be uniform and not dependent upon the identity of the requesting person.
  2. The FOIA logs should identify and record (as a minimum) the following items:
    1. Date Received
    2. Brief Description of Request
    3. Requesting Party
    4. Date Responded
    5. Response Type (granted, denied, partial, extension, deposit)
    6. Fees Charged
    7. Fees Collected
  3. In addition to the log, SHAES shall keep on file a time stamped copy of all requests and responses for a period of one (1) year following their issuance. The actual materials, information or records provided to the requestor should not be copied and filed if the documents are stored and accessible through normal operations.
  4. FOIA logs, requests, responses and related information must be available for review by the FOIA Officer upon request.
  5. South Haven Area Emergency Services Authority shall comply with the following FOIA related record retention responsibilities in accordance with 15.233, Section 3.3:
    1. Furnish the requesting person a reasonable opportunity for inspection and examination of its public records and furnish reasonable facilities for making memoranda or abstracts from its public records during usual business hours.
    2. Make reasonable rules necessary to protect its public records and to prevent excessive and unreasonable interference with the discharge of its functions.
    3. Protect public records from loss, unauthorized alteration, mutilation, or destruction.


Effective: July 1, 2015

Type of Reproduction Cost Unit
Copies of Document$.25Per page
Additional Copies of Same Document$.10Per page
Labor cost incurred in duplication, examination, review, separation, deletion, etc.$3.17Per 10 minute unit
Postage chargesActualPer mailing

NOTE: This schedule does not apply to public records prepared by South Haven Area Emergency Services under an act or statute specifically authorizing the sale of those public records to the public or to fees that have been established and approved as part of the Fire Authority.

The first $20 of the fee shall be waived for each request of an individual who submits an “Affidavit of Indigency” stating that they are receiving public assistance or facts showing inability to pay the full cost.

A waiver of fees will not be provided to an indigent person requesting additional copies of identical documents previously provided with a waiver of fees pursuant to a prior request under the FOIA.


If the fee for the search and providing the public information exceeds $50, a deposit of 1/2 the estimated fee is required.


Fees must be paid in full prior to the actual delivery of the public information or copies. South Haven Area Emergency Services cannot refuse to process a subsequent FOIA request on the ground that the requestor failed to pay fees charged for a prior FOIA request.

  1. Hourly wage of the lowest paid departmental employee capable of retrieving the information necessary to comply with the request. The rate listed was calculated using the hourly wage (step 1) of a Night Shift Office Assistant Level 2 plus 50% fringes ($10.00 + 50% = $15.00) prorated in 10 minute units.


After notification of a denial of a Freedom of Information Act request, the requesting party has the right to undertake either of the following actions to appeal the decision:

  1. Submit to the Authority Administrator of South Haven Area Emergency Services Authority a written appeal that specifically states the word “Appeal” and identifies the reasons for the reversal of the disclosure denial to:
    South Haven Area Emergency Services Authority Board
    Attn: Authority Administrator
    539 Phoenix Street
    South Haven Michigan 49090
    1. Chairperson of the Board is not considered to have received written appeal until the first regularly scheduled Board meeting following submission of the written appeal.
    2. The Authority Administrator shall, within 10 days after receiving written appeal, do one of the following:
      • Reverse the denial.
      • Issue written notice upholding the denial.
      • Reverse the denial in part and issue written notice upholding denial in part.
      • Under unusual circumstances, issue notice extending for not more than 10 business days the period during which the head of the public body shall respond to written appeal.
  2. Seek judicial review under Section 10 of the FOIA.
    • The requesting party also has the right to receive attorney’s fees and damages as provided in Section 10 of the FOIA if, after judicial review, the Circuit Court determines that the public body has not complied with this Section and orders disclosure of all or portions of the public record.


public/foia.txt · Last modified: 2016/08/29 18:49 by quinntm