Public Records Request

The Town of Pierson provides the following ways for you to submit a Public Records Request.

Hand Delivery or Mail

You may submit your Public Records Request in writing by delivering it to Pierson Town Center or mailing it to:

Town of Pierson
116 W. 1st Avenue
Pierson, FL  32180

Electronic Mail

You may submit your Public Records Request in writing via e-mail to or by using the Contact Us form on this website.

Please be aware that a special service fee may apply if the nature or volume of the public records in question require extensive use of resources or clerical assistance. Please read the complete Resolution below before completing your request.

Resolution 2024-05

Town of Pierson
Amended Policies and Procedures

Records Management and Public Records Request Policy

  1. Introduction

    The records that the Town of Pierson keeps in the course of carrying out their duties and responsibilities are public records.  Public records are different from records of businesses and private organizations because Florida law requires public records to be readily accessible and available to the public upon request.  All employees must ensure that public records in their custody are maintained and accessible as required by Florida law.  Employees and agencies do not have the authority to withhold records deemed “sensitive.”  The only records that can be withheld from public disclosure are those specifically designated by the Florida Statutes as confidential or exempt.  This policy will provide employees with the information necessary to understand and carry out their public records responsibilities.

  2. Purpose

    The purpose of this policy is to provide Town of Pierson employees with the information and procedures necessary to understand and carry out their responsibilities under the Florida Public Records Law, including:

    i.  The requirements for managing Town of Pierson public records;

    ii. The manner in which public records requests are to be processed to ensure that responses to the requests are organized, inclusive, and in compliance with applicable statutes and rules; and

    iii. To ensure Town of Pierson employees properly manage and retain e-mail as public records in accordance with Florida’s Public Records Law, Chapter 119, Florida Statures (F.S), when using the Town of Pierson’s email system.

  3. Scope

    This policy applies to all Town of Pierson employees, as well as publicly created advisory boards and private organizations (such as Citizen Support Organizations), that have been delegated the authority to perform some governmental function.  This policy applies to all public records of the Town of Pierson, regardless of the medium in which they exist (i.e., paper, electronic, or other).  This policy applies to the entire Town of Pierson’s email system.

  4. Definitions

    a. “Actual cost of duplication” means the cost of materials and supplies used to duplicate the public record, but does not include labor or overhead cost associated with such duplication. F.S. 119.011(1).

    b. “Agency" means any state, county, district, authority, or municipal officer, department, division, board, bureau, commission.... and any other public or private agency, person, partnership, corporation, business entity acting on behalf of any public agency.  F.S. 119. 011(2).

    c. "AGO” means the Office of the Attorney General of Florida, which is available at

    d. “Custodian” refers to all agency personnel who have it within their power to release or communicate public records.

    “Custodian of public records" means the elected or appointed state, county, or municipal officer charged with the responsibility of maintaining the office having public records, or his or her designee. F.S. 119.011(5). (The courts have concluded that the statutory reference to the records custodian does not alter the “duty of disclosure" imposed by F.S. 119.07(1), upon “every person who has custody of a public record)."

    f. “E-mail” the electronic transfer of information, typically in the form of electronic messages, memoranda, and attached documents, from a sending party to one or more receiving parties by means of an intermediate telecommunications system.

    g. “Exemption” means a provision of general law which provides that a specified record or meeting, or portion thereof, is not subject to the access requirements of F.S. 119.07(1), F.S. 286.011, or s. 24, Art. I of the State Constitution. F.S. 119.011(8).

    “Extensive Use" see below.

    i. “GS1-SL” means the General Records Schedule GS1-SL for State and Local Government Agencies, which is available at

    j. “Information technology resources" means data processing hardware and software and services, communications, supplies, personnel, facility resources, maintenance, and training. F.S. 119.011(9).

    k. "Public records" means all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software, or other material, regardless of the physical form, characteristics, or means of transmission, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency. F.S. 119.011(12).

               • Any material prepared in connection with official agency business which is intended to “perpetuate, communicate, or formalize" knowledge is classified as a public record. Shevin v. Bryon, Harless, Schaffer, Reid and Assoc., 379 So. 2d 633, 640 (Fla. 1980).

               • E -mail created or received by Town of Pierson employees in connection with official business, which perpetuates, communicates, or formalizes knowledge, is subject to the public records law and open for inspection.

    l. “Redact" means to conceal from a copy of an original record, or to conceal from an electronic image that is available for public viewing, that portion of the record containing exempt or confidential information. F.S. 119.011(13).

  5. Exemptions

    a. PRESUMPTION OF OPENNESS: All records are presumed open unless there is a specific statutory exemption. See F.S. 119. 07(1)(e). Accordingly, Town employees must be aware of current Florida Statutes that define public records exemptions. See exemptions below.

               • If a records custodian asserts that all or part of a record is exempt from inspection and copying, she/he must provide to the requestor the specific statutory citation authorizing denial of access to the record. F.S. 119.07(1)(e).

    b. EXAMINE RECORDS FOR EXEMPT INFORMATION: Each document shall be examined by the records custodian of the record to ensure that all exempt information is redacted.

               1) If records contain both exempt and non-exempt information, the records custodian must redact that which is exempt and provide access to the remainder. F.S. 119.07(1)(d).

               2) An agency may not ordinarily charge for the cost to review records for exempt information. AGO 84 -81. However, an extensive use charge (see page 10) may be imposed if review and redaction require an extensive use of agency resources. Fla. Inst.Legal Serv. v. Fla. Dep’t of Corr., 579 So. 2d 267, 269 (Fla. 1st DCA, review denied, 592 So. 2d 680 (Fla. 1991A)).

               3) If you are unsure about whether a record contains exempt information or whether any charges for review apply, check with your supervisor, the Town Clerk, or the Town Attorney.

    c. TO REDACT INFORMATION FROM A DOCUMENT: Make a copy of the requested record. Use correction tape/ liquid or a black marker on the copy to redact or hide protected information. Then make a copy of the redacted copy to provide to the requestor. Do not alter any original document.

    d. STATUTORY EXEMPTION CITATION: If a record or a portion thereof is exempt from public view, the custodian of the record must provide the requestor with the Florida Statute that specifically exempts the record or portion thereof from public view. F.S. 119.07(1)(e).

    e. EXEMPTIONS: If a document that is otherwise a public record contains exempt information (such as social security numbers, bank, debit, and /or credit account numbers) then the exempt portion of the record should be redacted and access to the remainder of the document should be provided to the requestor.

    General Exemptions See F.S. 119.071 for general exemptions from inspection or copying of public records

    Two major exemptions from public record are:

                    (i) Social Security numbers. F.S. 119.071(5)(a) 5. If a document that is otherwise a public record contains exempt information (such as social security numbers) then the exempt information shall be redacted and access to the remainder of the document shall be provided to the requestor.

                    (ii) Bank account numbers and debit, charge, and credit card numbers.

                          • F.
    S. 119.071(5)(b). If a document that is otherwise a public record contains exempt information (such as bank, debit, and /or credit account numbers) then the exempt information shall be redacted and access to the remainder of the document shall be provided to the requestor.

               3) Also note the following exemptions:

                    (i) Audit report of an internal auditor becomes a public record when the audit becomes final. Audit work papers and notes are exempt from 119.07(1) until the audit is complete and the audit report becomes final. See F.S. 119.0713(2)

    (ii) Emergency contact information furnished by a person to an agency for the purpose of being provided with emergency notification by the agency, including the person’s name, address, telephone number, e- mail address, or other electronic communication address. This exemption applies to information held by an agency, before, on, or after the effective date of this exemption. (Effective July 1, 2011, Fla. Chapter Law 2011 -85) F.S. 119. 071(5)(0)1.

    (iii) Litigation exemptions see F.S. 119.071(1)(d) 1. And 2., F.S. 286.011(8).

    (iv) Medical information pertaining to a prospective, current, or former employee of an agency, which, if disclosed, would identify that employee as exempt from F.S. 119. 07(1). However, such information may be disclosed pursuant to a court order or if the person's legal representative provides written permission. See F.S. 119.071(4)( b) 1.

    (v) Retiree lists (DROP participants), lists of retirees' names with their addresses are confidential and exempt from the provisions of F.S. 119.071(1) to the extent that no state or governmental agency may provide the name or addresses of such person in aggregate, complied, or list form to any person except to a public agency engaged in official business. F.S. 121. 031(5).

    (vi) Security system plans including threat response, emergency evacuation, and building plans are exempt from FS. 119. 07(1). See F.S. 119.0713(a)-(b). 

  6. Policies

    a. GENERAL STATE POLICY: It is the policy of this state that all state, county, and municipal records are open for personal inspection and copying by any person. Providing access to public records is a duty of each agency. F.S. 119.01(1).

    b. PRESUMPTION OF OPENNESS: All records are presumed open unless there is a specific statutory exemption. See F.S. 119.07(1)(a). If a staff member of the Clerk’s Office contends that all or part of a record is exempt from inspection and copying, she/he shall provide the exact statutory citation authorizing the denial to the requestor. F.S. 119.07(e).

    c. EMAIL POLICY:  E-mail that is created or received by a Town of Pierson employee in connection with the transaction of official business is considered a public record and is subject to inspection and/or copying in accordance with Chapter 119, Florida Statutes, and is subject to applicable state retention laws and regulations, unless expressly exempted by law.

               • No Right of Privacy: Town of Pierson employees have no right of personal privacy in any material created, stored in, received, or sent over the Town’s e-mail system. The Town of Pierson reserves and may exercise the right, at any time and without prior notice or permission, to intercept, monitor, access, search, retrieve, record, copy, inspect, review, block, delete and/or disclose any material created, stored in, received, or sent over the Town’s e-mail system for the purpose of protecting the system from unauthorized or improper use or criminal activity.

    d. RECORDS REQUESTED IN MEDIUM NOT ROUTINELY MAINTAINED BY CLERK: An agency must provide a copy of a record in the medium requested if the agency maintains the record in that medium and may charge a fee for such a copy in accordance with F.S. 119.07(4). F.S. 119.01(2)(f).

               • Florida Law does not require an agency to compile reports from records in a medium not routinely maintained by that agency. See F.S. 119.01(2)( f).

               • However, the Town Clerk's office may elect to provide records in a medium not routinely maintained in accordance with F.S. 119.01(2)(f).

               • If such election is made, any fee charged must be in accordance with F.S. 119. 07(4).

    e. RECORDS vs. INFORMATION: Florida Public Records Law requires agencies to provide access to public records; it does not require that agencies provide information from the records. The Florida Public Records Handbook 2nd edition, p. 10.

    f. IDENTIFYING RECORDS SOUGHT: A request for inspection or copying of records which is sufficient to identify the records must be honored by the records custodian whether the request is made in person, by telephone, or in writing. AGO 80-57. If the request is insufficient to identify the records sought, Town staff should help the requestor clarify the request.

    Public records requests are NOT REQUIRED TO BE MADE IN WRITING per F.S. Chapter 119.

    A person who requests records from Town staff is NOT REQUIRED TO PROVIDE HIS / HER NAME in order to receive the records requested per F.S. Chapter 119.

    g. REASONS FOR REQUEST ARE IRRELEVANT: A status of a party seeking public records is irrelevant, and there is no necessity to show a special interest to view a public record. Bevan v. Wanicka, 505 So. 2d 1116 (Fla. 2nd DCA 1987).

    h. TIMELINESS OF RESPONSE: Every person who has custody of a public record shall permit the record to be inspected and copied by any person desiring to do so, at any reasonable time, under reasonable conditions, and under supervision by the custodian of the public records. F.S. 119.07(1)( a). Although Florida Statutes do not prescribe a time period in which a request must be completed, records requests are to be completed in a reasonable amount of time.

               • Florida Law requires public record requests to be acknowledged promptly and afforded a good faith response. F.S. 119.07(1)( c).

               • Town Staff should keep requestors reasonably apprised of the status of their requests as a courtesy.

               • Responding to public records requests is a top priority.

    i. PRIORITY OF RESPONSE: All public records requests should be treated as equally important and should be answered in the order that they are received.

    j. CANCELLED OR UNCOLLECTED REQUESTS: The Town Clerk' s staff or any other Town department staff is entitled to receive payment for the entire amount of the value of their services when responding to public records requests. If a records requestor does not collect documents or advises Town staff that the documents are no longer needed, the Town staff is entitled to retain the deposit received for copying and other services related to the records request. Likewise, the Town staff may bill the requestor for the difference between the deposit and the actual cost if full payment was not initially received.

    k. RESPONDING TO A PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST: The Town Clerk’s office will serve as coordinator of public records requests in order to ensure that requests are completed within a reasonable amount of time.

    IMPORTANT: However, access to public records shall not be hindered in any way by this process. If routing a request through the Town Clerk's office will delay a response to a public records request, the department (or individual if he or she is not part of a department) that is custodian of the requested record will complete the request.

  7. Procedures

    a. For Requests Made In Person:

               1) If the information requested is immediately available, provide access to or copies of the record(s) to the requestor immediately.

               • If a charge is associated with the request (ex. hard copies or extensive use), advise requestor that a fee for copies applies and provide the requestor with an estimate of the cost (cost per page and /or extensive use charges).

               2) If the records are not immediately available, provide the requestor with an estimate of when the records will be available and ask the requestor: (a) if she/he would like to wait, or (b) if the requestor would prefer being notified when record copies are ready.

               • If the requestor prefers to be notified when the record copies are ready, ask the requestor how she/he would like to be made aware that the record copies are ready for pick up.

               • Remember: A requestor is not required to provide (a) his or her name, or (b) a reason for making the request in order to receive copies of or access to public records.

    b. For Requests Made by Telephone, Fax, Mail, or E-mail:

               1) When a public records request is received by telephone, fax, mail, or e-mail, Town staff must provide the requestor with an acknowledgement that the request was received and provide a good faith estimate of when the information will be available for inspection or copying_ F.S. 119. 07(1)( c).

    If a charge is associated with the request (i.e., hard copies or extensive use), advise requestor that a fee for copies applies and provide the requestor with an estimate of the cost (or cost per page).

               2) When taking a request by telephone, write down the caller' s request as specifically as possible. Be sure to repeat the request back to the requestor to ensure accuracy.

  8. Fees

    a. Fee Collection:

               1) Time of Payment: When all allowable fees /charges applicable to a particular request can be calculated in advance, they may be collected in advance of copying such records.

                    (i) If copies are to be mailed to a requestor, the fees /charges applicable shall be collected prior to mailing, including postage costs.

                    (ii) If an excessive use fee is imposed (see page 10), the requestor should be informed of the charge and provided a cost estimate prior to record duplication.

                    (iii) Fee and duplication costs should be received prior to the Town staff releasing the copies of records.

               2) Deposit: Depending on the total cost of duplication and /or extensive use charge, a deposit may be required which will be determined by the records custodian. Any deposit collected by the records custodian must be reasonable based on F.S. 119.07(4) and reflect the actual costs of producing copies.

                    (i) The Clerk’s Office will refund any monies deposited in excess of the actual charges incurred to fulfill the request.

                    (ii) If the actual cost exceeds the monies deposited, the requestor will be required to pay the difference before receiving copies of records.

    Mailing: If the records requested are mailed to the requestor, additional charges will be added to cover the cost of postage and packaging.

    Acceptable Forms of Payment:

    (i) Most major credit cards, including Visa and MasterCard

                    (ii) Cash, money order (payable to the Town of Pierson)

    (iii) Check (payable to the Town of Pierson, subject to the following conditions

    Personal checks will not be accepted by mail.

                           • Checks will only be accepted over the counter with Driver License or State - issued photo ID.

                           • The above limitations do not apply to: governmental agencies, title companies, and officer of the courts.

               5) Sales Tax: Sales tax is not currently charged on public records requests.

    b. Fee Schedule:
Duplication Medium Fee*
1)  Letter page, one-sided 15¢ / page
2)  Legal page, one-sided 15¢ / page
3)  Letter page, double-sided 20¢ / page
4)  Legal page, double-sided 20¢ / page
5)  Certified copy (Non-Court) $1.00 / page
6)  Electronic copy (e-mail or fax) No Charge*
7)  CD Actual Cost (50¢ per CD)
8)  Audio Tape Actual Cost ($1.00 per Tape)
9)  Plat Map Town Staff will take the map(s) to a local vendor for copies. Requestor will pay in accordance with the local vendor's fee schedule.


If a requestor provides his or her own Tape or CD (it must be brand new and unopened), then the above charges do not apply.

*These fee amounts do not include extensive use fees.

        • If records are duplicated using a medium other than those listed above, the records custodian shall consult with the Town Clerk’s Office to determine the actual cost of duplication.

The same fees apply to color and black/white copies.

  1. Extensive Use

    a. Extensive Use Policy (See FS 119.07(4)(d))

    These guidelines establish policy regarding fees to be charged for extensive use of staff time and /or information technology resources. Extensive use charges should be applied uniformly throughout Town departments.

               1) LABOR COSTS: When more than 30 minutes of clerical and /or supervisory time is spent in the inspection or duplication of a record, the extensive use fee shall be calculated from the hourly cost of the salary of the employee(s) required to fulfill the request. When extensive use consists of clerical tasks (i.e., locating documents, making photocopies) the Clerk’s Office shall charge a clerical rate even if, due to staff shortages, a more highly paid person actually does the work.

    An agency may not ordinarily charge for the cost to review records for exempt information. AGO 84 -81. However, an extensive use fee may be charged if review and redaction require an extensive use of agency resources. Florida Institutional Legal Services v. Florida Department of Corrections, 579 So. 2d 267 (Fla.1st DCA 1991), review denied, 592 So. 2d 680 (Fla. 1991).

               • Labor cost is determined by salary plus benefits. Bd. of County Comm' rs. Highland County v. Colby, 976 So. 2d 31 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008).

               2) INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESOURCE COSTS: Information technology resources include use of personal computers, microfiche readers, or other office machinery. An extensive use fee shall be collected if the time reasonably required to produce or display the record is over 30 minutes.

               3) DEPOSITS: See Section 8(a)(2) of this policy for information regarding deposits.

    b. Extensive Use Procedures

    If the nature or volume of the public records requested to be inspected or copied requires the use of more than one (1) hour of information technology resources and /or clerical or supervisory assistance by Town staff, an extensive use service charge based upon the cost incurred for such extensive use of information technology resources or labor cost of the personnel providing the service shall be charged to the requestor.


               1) The extensive use charge will be added to the actual cost of duplication of the records requested.

               2) The extensive use charge will be based on the labor costs of the personnel providing the service.

               3) The extensive use charge will be computed to the nearest quarter hour exceeding thirty (30) minutes based on the current rate of pay for the pay grade of the person who performed the service.

               4) When extensive use consists of clerical tasks (i.e., locating documents, making photocopies), a clerical rate should be charged, even if a more highly paid person actually does the work.

    This Extensive Use Policy and Procedure is established in accordance with Florida Statute 119.07(4)(d) for the purpose of recovering costs incurred for extensive use of information technology resources and /or clerical or supervisory assistance.
  1. Records Management and Retention

    The Town of Pierson is committed to preserving records in accordance with Florida law. The Town of Pierson complies with Florida’s records management program as outlined by the State Library & Archives of Florida which promotes the efficient, effective, and economical management of public records. Proper records management ensures that information is available when and where it is needed, in an organized and efficient manner, and in an appropriate environment.

    Records management is more than retention, storage, and disposition of records; it entails all record - keeping requirements and practices that allow an organization to establish and maintain control over information flow and administrative operations. Florida’s records management program is authorized by section 257.36, Florida Statutes, and applies to public records as defined in section 119.011(11), Florida Statutes.

    Records management seeks to control and manage records throughout their life cycle, from their creation through active use, inactive storage, and final disposition.
  1. Email

    a. Retention Requirements:

               (1) All public records must have an approved retention schedule in place before they can be destroyed or otherwise disposed of. Retention periods are determined by the content, nature and purpose of records, and are set based on their legal, fiscal, administrative and historical values, regardless of their form.   Therefore, there is no single retention schedule that would apply across the board to all e-mails. E-mail, like other records, irrespective of its form, can have a variety of purposes and relate to a variety of program functions and activities. The retention period of any particular e-mail message will generally be the same as the retention for records in any other form that document the same program function or activity.

               (2) Town of Pierson employees are required to relate each e-mail that is created or received by the employee through the Town's e-mail system to the activity it documents, as well as to other records documenting that activity, and apply the appropriate retention period based on that activity or function.

               (3) It is the responsibility of each Town of Pierson employee to ensure that e-mail and other public records in their custody are maintained for the required retention period(s).   Exchange Online mailboxes are replicated to multiple database copies, in geographically dispersed Microsoft data centers, to provide data restoration capability in the event of a messaging infrastructure failure.  For large scale failures, service continuity management is initiated.

               (4) In the event that a Town of Pierson employee wishes to retain a record that has met retention, they must request approval from the Town Clerk.

    b. Transitory Messages: 

    Many, though not all, e-mails fall under the retention schedule for "TRANSITORY MESSAGES" (General Records Schedule GS1-SL for State and Local Government Agencies, Item #146).  "Transitory Messages" are messages that do not set policy, establish guidelines or procedures certify a transaction or become a receipt. For instance, an e-mail notifying or reminding employees of an upcoming meeting would only have value until the meeting has been attended or the employee receiving the message has marked the date and time in the calendar.  The informal nature of transitory messages might be compared to a telephone conversation or a conversation in an office hallway.  The retention requirement for transitory messages is to retain until obsolete, superseded or administrative value is lost (OSA).  Therefore, e-mails that fall into this category can be disposed of at any time once they are no longer needed.

    c. Deleted E-Mail:

               (1) It is the responsibility of each Town of Pierson employee to delete e-mail that has met retention on a regular basis adhering to the applicable general records schedule. All e-mail placed in the Deleted Items folder will be automatically deleted from the system within 24 hours .  Once deleted, it cannot be retrieved.

    (2) Personal e-mail is to be deleted regularly from the system. In the event of a public records request that encompasses personal e-mail, those e-mails kept on the Town of Pierson system  will be provided to the requestor.  The Town of Pierson will not defend cases pertaining to personal e-mail items in a court of law.

    d. Invalid Recipient:

    If an e-mail is received for a former employee, temporary employee, etc., the e-mail is automatically purged and a non-delivery receipt is returned to the sender.

    e. Employment Separation:

    When an employee separates from employment with the Town of Pierson, that employee’s electronic public records, including but not limited to his/her computer user drive and e-mail, shall be transferred to the RMLO and Information Technology Director for appropriate management, retention, and disposition.  Hard copy public records shall remain in the custody of the Town of Pierson for appropriate use, retention, and disposition.

    f. Managing E-mail

    (1) Sorting e-mail into appropriate personal folders is a helpful way to manage these records and to ensure that appropriate retention requirements are identified and met. That is, just as file cabinets are set up to house different sets of files and employees know where to file paper records in those files, e-mail files and folders shall be set up with the appropriate retention period designated for each of those files and folders. If no retention schedule exists for records relating to a particular activity, then one must be established and that retention schedule would then apply to all documentation of that activity, regardless of form (paper, film, electronic, etc.).

    (2) At a minimum, Town of Pierson employees shall review e-mail on weekly basis and delete items that have met retention, are transitory messages or categorized as OSA.

    g. Violations

    Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

The Town of Pierson follows the Florida Department of State Division of Library and Information Services General Records Schedules. Specifically, the following:

General Records Schedules

These General Records Schedules established by the Department of State are intended for use by state, county, city and special district public records custodians. These schedules may be accessed at the following website address: