City of Renton reports audit of public records request fulfillment in 2022

4,589 public records requests were made in 2022, with 4,348 requests made the previous year.

On Aug. 7, the City of Renton presented an audit report that analyzed a number of measures used to evaluate the city’s responsiveness to public records requests from Jan. 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2022.

According to the report, 4,589 public records requests were made in 2022, with 4,348 requests being made the previous year in 2021.

Of the 4,589 public record requests, 1,663 were made by individuals, 483 were made by law firms, 984 were made by insurers, 525 were made by “organizations,” 372 were made by governments, 6 were made by incarcerated individuals, 47 were made by media, 45 were made by current or former city employees, and 464 were made by individuals who elected to be identified as “other.”

The city reported that 3,504 of the 4,589 public records requests made in 2022 were officially “closed,” with 1,898 of the requests being closed within five days of the request being made. The average number of days in which requests were given to the requester was calculated to be 24.9, with the median number of days being 7.

According to the audit, 120 requests were denied in full during 2022, with 2,450 requests being partially denied or redacted. Some of the most common reasons for denied or redacted requests reportedly included requests that had Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, personal information, information on victims or witnesses, financial information, B&O tax information, material submitted during employee applications, attorney-client communication, and information regarding active investigations.

The city reported that 156 requests were abandoned by requesters.

The city estimated that staff spent a collective 35,512 hours fulfilling public records requests in 2022, with an average of seven hours spent on each request. The city estimated that each request cost an average of $222.26 to fulfill, with an estimated total cost of $1,081,959 to fulfill all of the requests made in 2022.