1 City of San Juan Capistrano Agenda Report F3a TO: FROM: SUBMITTED BY: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council ~n Siegel, City Manager Jeff Ballinger, City Attorney tv\~ ~ r :re, DATE: SUBJECT: October 3, 2017 Consideration of a Resolution Adopting a City Council Policy - Electronic Communications Concerning City Business RECOMMENDATION: 1. Provide direction to staff regarding the transfer of existing City-business related s located on private accounts to City-provided accounts; and, 2. Adopt a Resolution approving City Council Policy Electronic Communications Concerning City Business. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: On March 2, 2017, the California Supreme Court (in the matter of City of San Jose v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County, Case No. S218066) ruled that electronic communications regarding City business (e.g. s, voice mails, and texts) on private devices or servers are not made exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act simply because they are on private devices or servers. Therefore, it is important for the City Council to adopt a policy regarding the conduct of the City's business via electronic communications by Councilmembers, commissioners and employees. On May 2, 2017, the City Council continued consideration of a Resolution approving City Council Policy Electronic Communications Concerning City Business to its May 16, 2017, meeting. At the meeting, the City Council raised questions regarding the logistics of providing all existing City-business related s located in private accounts to City-provided accounts (listed under attached proposed City Council Policy, Exhibit A to the Resolution, Page 2, Section 3). Staff is seeking direction as to whether this provision should be excluded from the policy. Staff and the City Attorney recognize the time involved with reviewing a multitude of existing s, and are comfortable excluding this provision with the understanding that existing s regarding city business on private servers are public records and may be subject to disclosure if a public records act request is received.
2 City Council Agenda Report October 3, 2017 Page 2 of 3 DISCUSSION/ANALYSIS: As mentioned above, the California Supreme Court has ruled that electronic communications on private devices or servers are not made exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act. The City of San Jose case originated with a request under the Act by a private citizen seeking electronic communications on the private devices of San Jose's former mayor, councilmembers and city employees regarding a real estate development in the city. The City of San Jose denied the request for communications on private devices, asserting that since the City did not prepare, own, use or retain the communications, it could not produce them under the Act. In a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court stated: "This case concerns how laws, originally designed to cover paper documents, apply to evolving methods of electronic communication. It requires recognition that, in today's environment, not all employment-related activity occurs during a conventional workday, or in an employermaintained workplace." The opinion observed that the court was deciding a "narrow question," namely, whether writings concerning the conduct of public business are beyond the reach of the Act merely because they were sent or received using a nongovernmental account. The court's answer was "no," that such communications are not beyond the reach of the law. They can be "public records" subject to disclosure under the Act. Therefore, the proposed policy has been drafted by the City Attorney's Office to respond to the holding of the San Jose case by doing several things. Namely, the proposed policy: Requires all City officials to locate and transmit to the City all electronic communications that concern City business and are located on private accounts. (as noted previously, staff is comfortable excluding this provision with the understanding that existing s regarding City business on private servers are public records and may be subject to disclosure) Requires the City to provide City accounts to all City Councilmembers, appointed Commissioners, and City employees, so that these officials can use the City-provided account for City business. Requires all City officials to use the City-provided account for City business. Provides guidelines for ensuring that incoming s from third parties to private accounts are delivered to a City-provided account. Provides guidelines for responding to Public Records Act requests that may include records on the private accounts of City officials. Provides consequences for officials who do not abide by the adopted policy. With regard to this last point, the policy is proposed to be adopted by resolution, as opposed to ordinance. In California, cities may impose additional penalties for violation of City ordinance, including criminal prosecution, which would lead to fines or jail time. Therefore, should the City Council wish to provide for these additional penalties, the City Council can direct staff to bring back an ordinance adopting these same policies.
3 City Council Agenda Report October 3, 2017 Page 3 of 3 FISCAL IMPACT: Not applicable. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: In accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) the recommended action is exempt from CEQA per Section (b)(3), the general rule that the CEQA applies only to projects which have the potential for causing a significant effect on the environment. Where it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment, the activity is not subject to CEQA. Adopting a City Council Policy - Electronic Communications Concerning City Business would not be an activity with potential to cause significant effect on the environment and therefore exempt from CEQA. A Notice of Exemption (NOE) will be posted should the project receive final approval. PRIOR CITY COUNCIL REVIEW: On May 2, 2017, the City Council continued the adoption of a Resolution approving City Council Policy Electronic Communications Concerning City Business to its May 16, 2017, meeting. On May 16, 2017, the City Council continued the item. On September 5, 2017, the City Council continued the item. On September 19, 2017, the City Council continued the item. COMMISSION/COMMITTEE/BOARD REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATIONS: This item does not go through the Commission and Committee review process. NOTIFICATION: City Commissions and Committees Classified Employees Association Management and Professional Employees Association ATTACHMENT(S): Attachment 1 - Resolution Adopting Electronic Communications Council Policy 132
4 RESOLUTION NO xx A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CALIFORNIA, ADOPTING A CITY COUNCIL POLICY CONCERNING ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS CONCERNING CITY BUSINESS WHEREAS, on March 2, 2017, the California Supreme Court (in the matter of City of San Jose v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County, Case No. S218066) ruled that electronic communications regarding City business (e.g. s, voice mails, and texts) on private devices or servers are not made exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act simply because they are on private devices or servers; and, WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of San Juan Capistrano wishes to adopt a City Council Policy regarding the conduct of the City's business via electronic communications by councilmembers, commissioners and employees. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City Council of the City of San Juan Capistrano does hereby resolve as follows. Section 1: The City Council hereby adopts the accompanying (Exhibit A) Electronic Communications Concerning City Business Policy. PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED this 3rd day of October ATTEST: KERRY K. FERGUSON, MAYOR MARIA MORRIS, CITY CLERK 1
5 EXHIBIT "A" ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS CONCERNING CITY BUSINESS POLICY [ATTACHED] 2
6 CITY OF SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO COUNCIL POLICY Subject: ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS CONCERNING CITY BUSINESS Page 1 of 5 Effective Date 10/3/17 Policy Number 132 PURPOSE The City Council as the legislative body of the City of San Juan Capistrano hereby adopts the following policy regarding the conduct of the City's business via electronic communications by Councilmembers, commissioners and employees. Specifically, this policy is adopted in light of the City of San Jose case, which held that a city employee's communications related to the conduct of public business do not cease to be public records under the California Public Records Act, simply because they were sent or received using a personal account or personal device. Existing and emerging electronic communications technologies have become an integral part of the ability of City officials and staff members to efficiently and effectively conduct City business. Such technology has the potential to enhance communications with the public and provide a higher level of service to the citizens of the City. However, with such technology in the work environment, the City must ensure it continues to meet its legal obligations with respect to transparency in the conduct of the people's business, including in the area of public records disclosure and retention requirements. To that end, the following protocol will be followed. Definitions For purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply: "City" means the City of San Juan Capistrano, and includes all of the City's affiliated entities, including, without limitation, the Housing Authority, and the Successor Agency. "City official" shall mean any elected official, commissioner or employee of the City. "City business" shall be construed broadly to mean information relating to the conduct of the public's business or communications concerning matters within the subject matter of the City's jurisdiction, including, but not limited to, pending or potential City projects, past or prospective City agenda items, or City budgets or expenditures involving City funds. Resolution of the question will involve an examination of several factors, including: (a) the content itself; (b) the context in, or purpose for which, it was written; (c) the audience to whom it was directed; (d) the purpose of the communication; and (e) whether the writing was prepared by a City official acting or purporting to act within the scope of his or her employment.
7 CITY OF SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO COUNCIL POLICY Subject: ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS CONCERNING CITY BUSINESS Page 2 of 5 Effective Date 10/3/17 Policy Number 132 "Electronic communications" includes any and all electronic transmission, and every other means of recording upon any tangible thing in any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combinations thereof, and any record thereby created, regardless of the manner in which the record has been stored. Without limiting the nature of the foregoing, "electronic communications" include s, texts, voic s, and also include communications on or within commercial applications (apps) such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc. "Electronic messaging account" means any account that creates, sends, receives or stores electronic communications. Policy/Protocols 1. All City officials shall be assigned a City electronic messaging account. 2. City accounts shall be used to conduct City business. City officials shall not use personal accounts for the creation, transmission or storage of electronic communications regarding City business. 3. All City officials shall, within 60 days following the adoption of this policy, search all private, nongovernmental electronic messaging accounts to which they have user access and locate any electronic communications that might constitute a "public record", because it involved "City business", as set forth above. All such communications shall be forwarded to the City official's City-provided account. To the extent the City official believes that any part of such communications contain personal matter not related to the conduct of the public's business, the City official shall provide a declaration, as set forth in paragraphs 1 0 and 11, below. 4. The City account, along with the attendant access to the City's account server, are solely for the City and City official's use to conduct City business and shall not be used for personal business or political activities. Incidental use of City electronic messaging accounts for personal use by City officials is permissible, though not encouraged. 5. If a City official receives an electronic message regarding City business on his/her non-city electronic messaging account, or circumstances require such person to conduct City business on a non-city account, the City official shall either: (a) copy ("cc") any communication from a City official's personal electronic messaging account to his/her City electronic messaging account; or (b) forward the associated electronic communication to his/her City account no
8 CITY OF SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO COUNCIL POLICY Subject: ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS CONCERNING CITY BUSINESS Page 3 of 5 Effective Date 10/3/17 Policy Number 132 later than 10 days after the original creation or transmission of the electronic communication. 6. City officials shall endeavor to ask persons sending electronic communications regarding City business to a personal account to instead utilize the City official's account, and likewise shall endeavor to ask a person sending an electronic communication regarding non-city business to use the City official's personal or non-city electronic messaging account. 7. City officials understand they have no expectation of privacy in the content of any electronic communication sent or received on a City account or communication utilizing City servers. City provided electronic devices, including devices for which the City pays a stipend or reimburses the City official, are subject to City review and disclosure of electronic communications regarding City business. City officials understand that electronic communications regarding City business that are created, sent, received or stored on an electronic messaging account, may be subject to the Public Records Act, even if created, sent, received, or stored on a personal account or personal device. 8. In the event a Public Records Act request is received by the City seeking electronic communications of City officials, the City Clerk's office shall promptly transmit the request to the applicable City official(s) whose electronic communications are sought. The City Clerk shall communicate the scope of the information requested to the applicable City official, and an estimate of the time within which the City Clerk intends to provide any responsive electronic communications to the requesting party. 9. It shall be the duty of each City official receiving such a request from the City Clerk to promptly conduct a good faith and diligent search of his/her personal electronic messaging accounts and devices for responsive electronic communications. The City official shall then promptly transmit any responsive electronic communications to the City Clerk. Such transmission shall be provided in sufficient time to enable the City Clerk to adequately review and provide the disclosable electronic communications to the requesting party. 10. In the event a City official does not possess, or cannot with reasonable diligence recover, responsive electronic communications from the City official's electronic messaging account, the City official shall so notify the City Clerk, by way of a written declaration, signed under penalty of perjury. In addition, a City official who withholds any electronic communication identified as potentially responsive must submit a declaration under penalty of perjury with facts sufficient to show
9 CITY OF SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO COUNCIL POLICY Subject: ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS CONCERNING CITY BUSINESS Page 4 of 5 Effective Date 10/3/17 Policy Number 132 the information is "personal business" and not "public business" under the Public Records Act. The form of the declaration is attached hereto as Attachment A. 11. It shall be the duty of the City Clerk, in consultation with the City Attorney, to determine whether a particular electronic communication, or any portion of that electronic communication, is exempt from disclosure. To that end, the responding City official shall provide the City Clerk with all responsive electronic communications, and, if in doubt, shall err on the side of caution and should "over produce". If an electronic communication involved both public business and a personal communication, the responding City official may redact the personal communication portion of the electronic communication prior to transmitting the electronic communication to the City Clerk. The responding City official shall provide facts sufficient to show that the information is "personal business" and not "public business" by declaration. In the event a question arises as to whether or not a particular communication, or any portion of it, is a public record or purely a personal communication, the City official should consult with the City Clerk or the City Attorney. The responding City official shall be required to sign a declaration, in a form acceptable to the City Attorney, attesting under penalty of perjury, that a good faith and diligent search was conducted and that any electronic communication, or portion thereof, not provided in response to the Public Records Act request is not City business. 12. City provided AB 1234 (ethics) training should include a discussion of the impacts of the City of San Jose case and this policy. Such training should include information on how to distinguish between public records and personal records. City officials who receive AB 1234 training from other providers should actively solicit training from the alternative provider on the impacts of the City of San Jose case. 13. City officials understand that electronic communications regarding City business are subject to the City's records retention policy, even if those electronic communications are or were created, sent, received or stored on a City official's personal electronic messaging account. It is a felony offense to destroy, alter or falsify a "public record". As such, unless the City official has cc'd/transmitted electronic communications in accordance with paragraph 5 above, that City official must retain all electronic communications regarding City business, in accordance with the City's adopted records retention policy, regardless of whether such electronic communication is originally sent or received on a personal electronic messaging account.
10 Subject: CITY OF SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO COUNCIL POLICY Effective Date Policy Number Page ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS CONCERNING CITY BUSINESS 5 of 5 10/3/ Failure of a City official to abide by this policy, following its adoption, may result in one or more of the following: Disciplinary action, up to and including termination (for employees); Removal from office (for commissioners); Censure (for commissioners or elected officials); Revocation of electronic device privileges (including revocation of stipend or reimbursement); Judicial enforcement against the City official directly, by the requesting party; and If this policy is adopted by way of ordinance, such penalty as is provided for violation of City ordinance. 15. This policy does not waive any exemption to disclosure that may apply under the California Public Records Act.
11 ATTACHMENT A DECLARATION [attached on following page]
12 In the matter of: California Public Records Act Request Pursuant to Gov. Code 6250 et seq. Re: Insert shorthand name of record request, including request number, if applicable Requester: Print or type name of requester Declaration of: Print or type name of official Regarding Search of Personal Electronic Messaging Account STATE OF CALIFORNIA COUNTY OF ORANGE CITY OF SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO I, declare: Print name 1. I received notice of a California Public Records Act ("CPRA") request regarding a search of my personal electronic messaging account(s). 2. I understand that the CPRA request seeks: Insert text of CPRA request. 3. I am the owner or authorized user of the following personal electronic messaging account and have the authority to certify the records: Insert description of personal electronic messaging account(s). 4. I have made a good faith, diligent, thorough, and complete search of the above mentioned personal electronic messaging account(s) for all electronic communications potentially responsive to the above mentioned CPRA request. 5. Any responsive electronic communications discovered, and referenced below, were prepared or used by me in the ordinary course of business at or near the time of the act, condition or event. 6. Any responsive electronic communications discovered, and referenced below, are true copies of all records described in the above mentioned CPRA request. 1
13 Check the applicable box: 0 I certify that I do not possess responsive electronic communications. 0 I certify that I cannot reasonably recover responsive electronic communications Explain efforts to retrieve responsive electronic communications and why you were unable to recover responsive electronic communications. 0 I certify that I discovered potentially responsive electronic communications from my personal electronic messaging account, but I am withholding that information because the information is "personal" business. This is for the following reasons: ---:--: : Describe with sufficient facts why the contested information is personal business and not subject to the CPRA. Attach additional pages, if necessary. 0 I certify that I discovered potentially responsive electronic communications from my personal electronic messaging account. I am providing all responsive information. However, some information is nonresponsive and I am withholding that information, because the information is personal business. This is for the following reasons: -:--:--:--:--:--:---:------:-:-:----:-----Describe with sufficient facts why the contested information is personal business and not subject to the CPRA. Attach additional pages, if necessary. I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct and that I have personal knowledge of the facts set forth above. Executed this_ day of 20_, in California. 2 By: ~ PrintName:
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