Passaic County OPRA Center

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What is a broad and/or unclear request?

A broad and/or unclear request fails to name specific government records, or requires the custodian to conduct research.  

Example of an overly broad request: "Any and all records related to the construction of the new high school".  The term "records" does not reasonably identify a specific government record. 

Example of a valid request: "Any and all e-mails between Jane Doe and John Smith regarding the construction of the new high school from January 1, 2009 to February 28, 2009".  This request identifies a specific type of record, parties to the correspondence, dates and subject matter. 

Example of a request that requires research: "all meeting minutes from 2011 in which the Council discussed Jane Doe, Human Resource Manager".  This request is invalid because it requires the custodian to research/read through all the 2011 minutes to determine when the Council discussed Jane Doe, Human Resource Manager. 

Example of a valid request: "all meeting minutes from 2011." The requestor would then have to conduct his own research to determine which minutes contain the subjects in which he is interested. 

 A custodian may either deny an overly broad/unclear request, or seek clarification of the request. The custodian's request for clarification must be in writing, within seven (7) business days of receipt of the request. If a custodian seeks clarification of an OPRA request, the response time clock stops until the requestor provides a response to the custodian.

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