Snoqualmie still seeking public records software

Request for proposals reissued.

The city of Snoqualmie is still seeking public records management software to improve public record management. A request for proposals (RFP) for such software has been reissued.

According to a city clerk report attached to the Jan. 27 city council agenda, it was originally anticipated that a contract would be awarded at the Jan. 13 council meeting (that meeting was eventually canceled due to snow). However, the report says there were “a few discrepancies in the submittals” to the original RFP, so it is being reissued and staff anticipate a recommendation for award will be presented to the city council in the next few weeks.

The reissued RFP for public records management software was set to go out on Feb. 4, after the Record’s print deadline.

The same city clerk report also says city clerk Jodi Warren is working with the state Attorney General’s Office to coordinate time for them to spend with Snoqualmie city staff as part of a free program that assists local governments with training and consulting on the public records act. The program was mentioned in a previous city clerk report in September.

Warren previously told the Record that the program she referred to is the Local Government Public Records Consultation Program, created after Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1594 amended the PRA at RCW 42.56.570 in 2017.

In both reports Warren wrote, “I have submitted a request to achieve the following goals: help develop and implement best practices, mitigate risk and liability, review our practices for Public Records Act compliance, identify opportunities to improve access to records, explore the use of technology to facilitate improved records management and production and provide training to staff.”

The January city clerk report also detailed that the city is progressing on its filing project. Staff have identified and subsequently destroyed records eligible for destruction in accordance with the state retention schedule. Additionally, some essential records have been prepared for the state archivist to take custody of and retain in the Puget Sound Regional Archives in Bellevue.

Snoqualmie City Council in July 2019 adopted new public records policies that changed billing methods and also limited the amount of staff time that can be spent processing records requests to 16 hours per month for the records officer and eight hours per month for each department-designated staff member. The change also prohibited the possession of any personal electronic devices or cameras in the room where public records are made available for viewing, meaning requestors must now pay to receive a copy or rely on their memory and handwritten notes.

Warren previously estimated the average amount of staff time spent on records work per month prior to the change to be about 172 hours. The city had decided to limit staff time after a spike in the amount of requests.