The law allows anyone to inspect most public records in order to hold government agencies accountable for their decisions, spending and to ensure that the public interest is upheld.
Inspecting or Requesting a Copy of a Public Record
Most public records maintained by Placer County are available for public inspection. Under Government Code Sections 6250-6276.48, you can make a Public Records Act request in person, over the phone or in writing.
Most public records are available for inspection during regular business hours, generally Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., except for county holidays. However, requested records cannot always be immediately provided. This can occur if the requested records are in storage or archives, are currently being used by county personnel or other members of the public, or may need to be reviewed to determine if the records contain confidential or otherwise exempt information. In these circumstances, a mutually agreeable time in the future will be established for the inspection of records that will be provided.
Identifying the appropriate records is easiest when the request is specific and focused. Staff can help requestors narrow down the scope of their search by describing the technology used, how the record is maintained, the physical location of the record, and provide suggestions on how to address any practical barriers to disclosure.
Not Everything is Released
Not all records are automatically open to the public. The county may refuse to disclose any records which are exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act. Examples of items that may not be disclosed include home addresses of employees, personnel files or medical files, to name a few.
When inspecting public records, they may not be removed from the location where they are being inspected. They may not be reorganized, destroyed, defaced, or altered. The county reserves the right to have personnel present during the inspection of records to safeguard these public interests.
Where to Request Records
Placer County does not have a single point of contact for requesting records. Records should be requested from the department or office that maintains the records. See the ‘Contact Us’ page for a list of department phone numbers and email addresses. If the incorrect department or office is contacted, county staff will assist the requestor in identifying the correct department or office.
Placer County is currently piloting an online request system for the submission of Public Records Requests to the Air Pollution Control District; Health and Human Services: Environmental Health Division, and Community Development: Building, Planning and Engineering Divisions. The online system can be accessed at this link: https://placercounty.nextrequest.com
Record requests seeking copies of records that may be located across multiple county departments or offices may be made in writing to the Office of the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, 175 Fulweiler Avenue, Auburn, CA 95603.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a public record?
The legal definition of public records includes 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 characteristics. “Writing ”means any handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, photocopying, transmitting by electronic mail or facsimile, and every other means of recording upon any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combinations thereof. (California Public Records Act, Government Code section 6252(e).)
How much does it cost?
There is no cost to inspect records, but there is a fee for staff to make copies of records that have been deemed releasable. Pre-payment of the copying costs is expected. While the copying costs for some records vary (see generally Article 2 of the Placer County Code), the copying cost for most county records are .50 cents for the first page of a document and .25 cents for each additional page of the same document. (Placer County Code section 2.116.030).