Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

KALAMAZOO COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES

MICHIGAN FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

PROCEDURES AND GUIDELINES TO REQUEST DOCUMENTS

 

The Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (MCL 15.231) requires Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (KCMHSAS) to provide information related to requests for release of documents held by KCMHSAS.  If you have any questions about these procedures and guidelines you may contact Demeta Wallace, KCMHSAS FOIA Coordinator at dwallace@kazoocmh.org or (269)364-6901.

 

HOW TO SUBMIT A REQUEST FOR DOCUMENTS UNDER THE FOIA

You may send a written request for documents held by KCMHSAS to the attention of Demeta Wallace via e-mail (dwallace@kazoocmh.org) or first class mail (2030 Alcott, Kalamazoo, MI 49001).  KCMSHAS is only required to provide documents in its possession that are described with enough information for KCMHSAS to find the documents requested. 


KCMHSAS is not required to release documents that are subject to the exemptions from disclosure stated in the FOIA. 


KCMHSAS is not required to take action to create documents in order to provide information requested.

 

PERMITTED RESPONSES BY KCMHSAS AFTER RECEIPT OF A REQUEST FOR DOCUMENTS

Within five business days after receiving a request for documents KCMHSAS must take one of the following actions:

1
Grant the request in part and provide documents and provide written notice denying the request for remaining documents. 
2 Provide written notice that the request for documents is denied.
3 Grant the request in part and provide documents and provide written notice denying the request for remaining documents.
4 Provide written notice extending, for not more than ten business days, the period for providing a further response to the request for documents.  KCMHSAS may  not extend the period for providing a response more than one time for a particular request.  Within the ten day extension period KCMHSAS must take one of the actions stated in paragraphs one through three above.

If you request documents by sending an email or facsimile, KCMHSAS is considered to have received the request on the next business day after the request is sent; however, if an email request is diverted to a spam or junk mail folder, KCMHSAS is not considered to have received the request until the next business day after KCMHSAS becomes aware of the request.  KCMHSAS is required to maintain records stating the time the request is diverted to its spam or junk mail folder and the time KCMHAS becomes aware of the request. 

 

The failure of KCMHSAS to provide any response indicates a determination to deny the request, so long as the failure to respond is intentional and/or the first 250 words of any written correspondence directed to KCMHSAS contain words or abbreviations of words such as “freedom of information”, “information”, “FOIA”, “copy” or similar words.


If KCMHSAS denies a request for documents the person requesting documents may take one of the following actions:

Submit a written appeal to the KCMHSAS CEO.  The submission must clearly use the word “appeal” and must state reasons why KCMHSAS’s decision to deny release of requested documents should be reversed.  Within 10 days of after receiving the appeal the CEO must provide notice that the denial of the release of documents is reversed, upholding the denial, or upholding the denial in part.  If unusual circumstances exist the CEO may provide notice extending the time for his/her response not more than 10 business days and include an explanation of the unusual circumstances making it necessary to extend the time for response.
File a complaint in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court seeking reversal of KCMHSAS’s decision.  That complaint must be filed not more than 180 days after KCMHSAS denies the request for documents.  KCMHSAS is required to show why its denial is correct.  If the Court determines that KCMHSAS should have granted the request for release of all or a portion of the documents, it may order KCMHSAS to pay damages, including all or a portion of the attorney fees incurred by the person requesting the documents and KCMHSAS may be required to produce all or a portion of the records requested.

FEES FOR SEARCHING, REVIEWING AND COPYING REQUESTED DOCUMENTS

The Michigan FOIA allows KCMHSAS to charge a fee for a record search, for reviewing documents in order to determine whether portions are exempt from disclosure, for redacting exempt information, for copying records, and for the cost of mailing records by first class mail.  KCMHSAS may charge these fees only if the failure to charge a fee would result in unreasonably high costs to KCMHSAS and only if documents or information requested are not already available on KCMHSAS’s website.  KCMHSAS must identify the nature of such costs if it determines to charge fees for responding to a particular request. 


KCMHSAS may not charge more than the hourly wage of its lowest-paid employee capable of performing those tasks.  Labor costs are charged in 15 minute increments.  KCMHSAS may also include additional fees of up to 50% of the amount charged for labor costs to cover or partially cover the cost of fringe benefits, so long as it clearly identifies the amount charged for benefits in a detailed itemization of fees charged and so long as it does not charge more than the actual cost of fringe benefits.  Charges for copying documents will be $0.10 per page.


KCMHSAS may waive or reduce fees for responding to a request for documents if it determines it is in the public interest to do so.  If a person requesting documents provides information that he/she is unable to pay fees associated with KCMHSAS’s response or if the request is directly from a nonprofit organization (or on behalf of its clients) designated by the State of Michigan under subtitle C of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 or the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act for reasons consistent with the organization’s mission, KCMHSAS will waive the first $20.00 of any fees and thereafter determine whether it will discount or waive any additional fees associated with the request.


A person is not eligible for a reduction or waiver of fees associated with his/her request if:

•  He/she previously received discounted copies of public records from KCMHSAS twice during the calendar year.
He/she is requesting information in conjunction with outside parties who are offering or providing payment or other remuneration to him/her.

 

KCMHSAS may require a good faith deposit not to exceed one half (1/2) of the estimated fee if fees are expected to exceed $50.00.  KCMHSAS will provide a detailed itemization of estimated costs when it requests a deposit.  If KCMHSAS willfully and intentionally does not provide a timely response to a request for documents, it will reduce fees for labor costs associated with its response to the request by 5% for each day its response is late, up to a maximum of a 50% reduction.


If KCMHSAS assesses a fee in excess of the amount permitted by the Michigan FOIA or these Procedures and Guidelines the person requesting documents may do any of the following:

•  Submit a written appeal to the KCMHSAS CEO for a fee reduction.  The submission must use the word “appeal” and state how the fee required by KCMHSAS exceeds the amount permitted under these Procedures and Guidelines or the Michigan FOIA.  Within 10 days after receiving the appeal the CEO will waive the fee, reduce the fee and state in writing why the remaining fee complies with these Procedures and Guidelines and the Michigan FOIA, or uphold the original fee amount and state in writing why the fee complies with these Procedures and Guidelines and the Michigan FOIA.  The CEO may also issue a written notice extending for not more than 10 business days the time for responding to the appeal, including reasons why the extension is necessary.
 • File a civil action in the Kalamazoo Circuit Court seeking a fee reduction.  The case must be filed not more than 45 days after receiving notice of the required fee or a resolution of the appeal to the KCMHSAS CEO.  KCMHSAS is required to show why its fee calculation is correct and complies with these Procedures and Guidelines and the Michigan FOIA.  If the Court determines that the fees charged by KCMHSAS should be reduced by 50% or more the Court has the discretion to award all or a portion of reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred by the person requesting documents.  In addition, if the Court determines that KCMHSAS arbitrarily and capriciously violated the Michigan FOIA by charging an excessive fee the Court will order KCMHSAS to pay damages of $500.00, which will be paid to the State of Michigan and deposited in the State’s general fund, and may order KCMHSAS to pay actual or compensatory damages and punitive damages in the amount of $500.00 to the person requesting documents.  If the Court determines that KCMHSAS willfully and intentionally failed to comply with the Michigan FOIA or acted in bad faith, the Court will order KCMHSAS to pay a civil fine of not less than $2,500.00 and not more than $7,500.00, which will be deposited in the State’s general fund.