Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA)
Policy & Procedures

Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests made of the South Carolina Forestry Commission should be directed to Director of Communications & Public Information Doug Wood at dwood@scfc.gov or (803) 896-8820.

Policy

The South Carolina Forestry Commission recognizes the need for open government and will comply freely with the SC Freedom of Information Act (Title 30, Section 4).

 

Procedure

All requests for information, written or oral, will be treated as Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, regardless of whether FOIA is cited in the request.

 

14.2 FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT  COMPLIANCE OFFICER PROCEDURE

1.   The agency Information Officer/Spokesman will serve as the SC Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) compliance officer.

2.   The compliance officer will maintain currency in FOIA requirements as they apply to SCFC operations.

3.   The compliance officer will promptly review formal FOIA requests, determine whether the requested information may be disclosed, and prepare a response to the requestor.

4.   In the event the compliance officer cannot make a clear determination of disclosability, the officer will seek the opinion of a qualified attorney.
 
5.   The compliance officer will retain a copy of every written FOIA request and corresponding SCFC response for at least five years.

 

14.3 FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST FOR DOCUMENTS INFORMATION  PROCEDURE

1.   Any employee receiving a request for information must evaluate the nature of the request and the availability of the requested information.

2.   If the request, either written or oral, cites FOIA, the employee receiving the request will immediately contact the FOIA compliance officer.

3.   If the requested information is routine, publicly published material, the employee receiving the request should promptly supply the information.  Examples include SCFC Annual Reports, contents of training and operational manuals, and policy and procedure manuals.

4.   If the requested material involves personnel matters, salaries, hiring procedures, etc., the request must be referred to the Human Resources Director within one working day.

5.   If the requested material involves law enforcement records or documents, the request must be referred to the Chief Law Enforcement Officer or his assistant within one working day.

6.   If the requested material involves records or reports of wildfire or smoke incidents, the request must be referred to the Fire Management Chief within one working day.

7.   If the request involves material from a third-party landowner’s file, the request will be referred to the Regional Forester within one working day.

8.   If the request involves SCFC working notes, files, administrative records, or material not otherwise described in this procedure, the request must be referred to the FOIA compliance officer within one working day.

9.   If a requested document includes information that is protected by statute or exempt Information that the agency chooses to withhold, the protected /exempt information must be redacted prior to handing over the document.

10. Questions involving disclosure of specific materials will be referred to the Compliance Officer.

 

14.4 FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT FEES AND CHARGES  PROCEDURE

1.   There will be no charge to inspect public records at the site where they reside if such records are readily available.

2.   For specific records involving a staff search, the search time will be charged at the lowest hourly earning rate among employees capable of conducting that particular search.

3.   For copying records, a charge of $.50 per 8 ½ x 11 page will be assessed; a charge of $1.00 per page will be assessed for copies larger than 8 ½  x 11.

4.   Notwithstanding the above, no charges will be made: 

5.   In all cases where fees and charges may accrue, SCFC will estimate the cost and advise the requestor prior to beginning the work.

6.   For search and/or copy requests estimated to exceed $50, the agency may require a 50% deposit prior to filling the request.

7.   When material is to be FAXed, mailed, or e-mailed. any fees and charges must be paid in full before the material is transmitted.

8.   FAXing materials pursuant to an FOIA request is limited to 20 pages.

 


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