Effective: January 1, 2009
Last updated: October 25, 2023
The City of Philadelphia has adopted a policy to comply with the Commonwealth’s Act 3 of 2008, 65 P.S. §§ 67.101 et seq., commonly known as the Right-to-Know Law. With certain exceptions, members of the public have the right to inspect and/or copy public records upon written request.
Right-to-Know Law. Act 3 of 2008, 65 P.S. §§ 67.101 et seq.
Business day. Monday through Friday 8:30 AM through 5:00 PM, except those days when the City of Philadelphia, the main office of the Law Department, or the office, department, board, or commission to which a request is submitted is closed. For the purpose of this Open Records Policy, City Agencies are closed when any of the following applies:
- The City, the Law Department, or the particular City Agency operates on an “essential services only” basis;
- The City, the main office of the Law Department, or the particular City Agency is closed for four or more hours during regular business hours; or
- The City, the main office of the Law Department, or the particular City Agency closes for any portion of regular business hours on an emergency basis.
Public Record. Any document that satisfies the general definition of “public record” set forth in the Right-to-Know Law and does not fall within any of the exceptions set forth therein, as the definition and exceptions are amended from time to time and as the definition and exceptions are interpreted by state, federal, and/or local courts.
Open Records Officer. An official or employee of the City of Philadelphia officially assigned responsibility for receiving, tracking, and responding to requests for information under the Right-to-Know Law. The City of Philadelphia may designate a Deputy or Secondary Open Records Officer to act in the absence of an Open Records Officer.
Requester. A person who requests a record under the Right-to-Know Law.
Office of Open Records. The State Office, under the Department of Economic and Community Development, as explained in §1310 of the Right-to-Know Law. The Office of Open Records shall be responsible for many duties, including (but not limited to): issuing advisory opinions; training agencies and public employees; assigning appeals officers to review decisions; and conducting a biannual review of fees allowed under the Right-to-Know Law.
2. Open Records Officer
Please see below for the Open Records Officer specific to each City Agency. If no Open Records Officer is listed, please direct the request to the Open Records Officer for the City Law Department (Office of the City Solicitor). Please indicate the City Agency the request seeks records from. Please note that some independently elected officials—including the District Attorney’s Office and City Controller’s Office—may have their own separate and distinct policies. You should consult their respective websites for information specific to their offices, including information concerning their respective Open Records Officers.
The City Law Department is not authorized to accept Right-to-Know Requests on behalf of the Philadelphia District Attorney. The Office of the District Attorney maintains a separate Open Records Policy; requests for that office should be directed to the Open Records Officer for the Office of the District Attorney.
- The City Law Department represents the City on all Right-to-Know matters. Requests from lawyers or law firms must be directed to the Open Records Officer for the City Law Department and should indicate the Office, Department, Board and/or Commission the request is seeking records from.
- Audio/Video Records from the Philadelphia Police Department – Requests for audio, visual, or bodycam records from the Philadelphia Police Department must be made in-person or via certified mail following the instructions in 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 67A(3) (aka Act 22). Such requests are not processed under the RTKL. See 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 67A(2)(a); 65 P.S. §§ 67.305, 67.3101.1. You may use this form to make a request under Act 22. Requests under this Act should be addressed to: Lieutenant Barry Jacobs, Philadelphia Police Department, Open Records/Right to Know Section, Philadelphia Public Services Building,
400 N. Broad St., 4W-72, Philadelphia, PA 19130.
- Copies of Public Safety Reports: Copies of public safety records are available outside the RTK process directly from the Department of Records. Please file these according to the instructions online depending on the type of public safety record you seek. General information and specific report request forms are available at: https://www.phila.gov/services/crime-law-justice/get-a-copy-of-a-public-safety-report/
- Specific reports available through this process includes:
- Traffic accident reports (also known as crash reports). You can get traffic accident reports online by using the online portal at https://crashreports.phila.gov/
- Police incident or offense reports form https://www.phila.gov/media/20210510104709/application_for_police_incident_or_offense_report_82-47.pdf
- Fire reports form https://www.phila.gov/media/20210510104714/application_for_fire_82_311.pdf
- Emergency medical services (EMS) reports form https://www.phila.gov/media/20210726162458/application_for_ems_report_82-311.pdf
- Police record checks https://www.phila.gov/media/20210510104719/police_records_check_request_form_75_343.pdf
If you are not seeking a Public Safety Report, please direct your request to the appropriate City Open Records Officers:
City Agency Open Records Officer Law Department, Office of the City Solicitor
Phase I Environmental Assessments
Any agency, office, board, commission, or department not listed below
If you are not sure where to direct a request, please send it here.
Feige Grundman, Chief Deputy City Solicitor
1515 Arch St., 17th Fl, Philadelphia, PA 19102
City Council Jessica Sánchez, Esq.
Office of the President, City Technical Services Unit
City Hall, Rm 567, Philadelphia, PA 19107
(p) (215) 686-0819
(f) (215) 686-1941
Office of the Controller Grace St. Vincent, Esq.
1401 JFK Blvd, 12th Fl, Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 686-8826 phone
Office of the City Commissioners Officer Nick Custodio, Deputy Commissioner
Office of Commissioner Deeley
City Hall, Rm 130, Philadelphia, PA. 19107
Sheriff’s Office LaVanda Harris, Open Records Officer
Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office, Undersheriff Unit
100 S. Broad St., 5th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19110
Office of the Chief Administrative Officer Aviva Tevah, Chief of Staff
Municipal Services Building, 1401 JFK Blvd, Suite 630, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Philadelphia International Airport Etta Kennedy
8500 Essington Ave, Executive Offices, Third Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19153
Department of Behavioral Health & Intellectual Disability Services Ava Ashley, Health Program Manager
1101 Market St, 7th Fl, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Board of Ethics Thomas Klemm, Esq., Staff Attorney
1515 Arch St, 18th Fl, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Board of Pensions & Retirement Shamika Taliaferro, Deputy Director
Two Penn Center Plaza, 16th Fl, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Board of Revision of Taxes Carla E. Pagan, CPE, Executive Director
601 Walnut St, Ste 325 East, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Civil Service Commission Virna Clay, Administrative Specialist 2
1401 JFK Blvd, Ste 1640, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Commerce Department Feige Grundman, Divisional Deputy City Solicitor
1515 Arch St, 17th Fl, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Commission on Human Relations Karen Forman, Esq., Principal Assistant
601 Walnut St, Ste 300 South, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Department of Finance
Elizabeth Hanley, Deputy Finance Director for Administration, Development, and Training
Office of the Director of Finance
1401 JFK Blvd, 13th Fl, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Department of Public Health
Office of the Health Commissioner
Medical Examiner’s Office
Tracy Jones, Executive Assistant
1101 Market St, Ste 1320, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Department of Public Property Thomas C. McDade, III, Deputy Chief of Staff
City Hall, Rm 780, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Department of Revenue Feige Grundman, Chief Deputy City Solicitor, Law Dept
1515 Arch St., 17th Fl, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Department of Streets Alethia Mathis
Department of Streets
3901 N. Delaware Ave, 5th Fl., Philadelphia, PA 19137
Fleet Management Dr. K Wilson, Administrative Services Director
100 S. Broad St, 3rd Fl, Philadelphia, PA 19110
Free Library of Philadelphia Christina Patton, Assistant to the Chief of Staff
1901 Vine St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Division of Housing & Community Development; Philadelphia City Planning Commission; Philadelphia Historical Commission; Developer Services Committee Antoinette Garcia, Social Media Coordinator
Department of Planning & Development
Division of Housing and Community Development
1234 Market St, 17th Fl, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Labor Standards Perritti DiVirgilio, Director of Labor Standards
1401 JFK Blvd, Rm 170, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Office of Worker Protection Feige Grundman, Chief Deputy City Solicitor
1515 Arch St., 17th Fl, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Licenses & Inspections Tia Platts
1401 JFK Blvd, Rm 1130, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Managing Director’s Office Kyle Allen
1401 JFK Blvd., Ste 1630, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Office of Innovation & Technology Steven E. Robertson, Esq., Chief of Staff
Office of the Inspector General Alexander F. DeSantis
601 Walnut St, Ste 300 East, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Office of Property Assessment Drew Aldinger, Esq., Deputy Administrator
601 Walnut St, Ste 300 West, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Office of the Chief Administrative Officer Michael Giunta
1401 JFK Blvd, Ste 630, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Office of Homeless Services
Office of Supportive Housing
Jerome R. Hill
Director of Compliance
Special Assistant to the Director
1401 JFK Blvd. 10th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Parks & Recreation Frank Iannuzzi, Director of Legal Affairs and Partnerships
1515 Arch St, 10th Fl, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Philadelphia Department of Prisons Gregory J. Vrato, Esq., Director of Policy Compliance & Legal Affairs
7901 State Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19136
Philadelphia Fire Department Deputy Chief Dennis Merrigan
3061 Island Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19153
Philadelphia Water Department Feige Grundman, Chief Deputy City Solicitor, Law Dept
1515 Arch St., 17th Fl, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Philadelphia Police Department Lieutenant Barry Jacobs
Philadelphia Police Department
Open Records/Right to Know Section
Philadelphia Public Services Building (PPSB)
400 N. Broad St., 4W-72, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Procurement Department LaShawnda N. Tompkins, MBA
Deputy Commissioner, Administration
Procurement Department, City of Philadelphia
1401 JFK Blvd., Rm 120, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Department of Records Lynda Yerkov
City Hall Rm 156, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Sinking Fund Commission Christopher DiFusco, Esq., Chief Investment Officer
1500 John F. Kennedy Blvd., 17th Fl, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Treasurer Amanda Robinson, Executive Asssistant
1401 JFK Blvd, Ste. 640, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Water Revenue Bureau Arlene Reilly, Data Services Support Clerk
Municipal Services Building, 2nd Floor
Mayor’s Office Kathleen Lonie
City Hall, Rm 204, Philadelphia, PA 19107
The Right-to-Know Law requires that the City of Philadelphia act upon each non-anonymous written request when such request is made in person, by mail, by fax, or by email. The Right-to-Know Law does not require that the City of Philadelphia act upon an oral request, and the City of Philadelphia shall refuse to accept oral requests. Furthermore, the Right-to-Know Law does not require that the City of Philadelphia act upon an anonymous request, and the City of Philadelphia will refuse to honor an anonymous request.
Pursuant to the Right-to-Know Law, the State Office of Open Records has created and published on its website a standard statewide form, which must be accepted by the City of Philadelphia for filing a request. (https://www.openrecords.pa.gov/RTKL/Forms.cfm).
Effective February 1, 2012, the City of Philadelphia requires the standard statewide form be used for the submission of Right-to-Know requests, and will not consider a request to be a written request pursuant to the Right-to-Know Law unless the request is submitted on or with the standard statewide form. As of February 1, 2012, the City of Philadelphia considers any request not submitted on or with the standard statewide form to be an informal request not subject to the Right-to-Know Law. If a requester submits a request on or with the standard statewide form after submitting an informal request for the same (or similar) records, the City of Philadelphia will consider the informal request to have been withdrawn. The City of Philadelphia reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to require a written request pursuant to the Right-to-Know Law before releasing records. A copy of the standard statewide form appears at the end of this policy.
The Right-to-Know Law sets forth various specifications for the contents of a written request. To qualify as a written request under the Right-to-Know Law and the City of Philadelphia Open Records Policy the request must be:
- Directed to the appropriate Open Records Officer,
- Submitted on or with the standard statewide form, and
- Contain at least the following information:
- Name of requester;
- Address of requester; and
- Records sought, identified, or described with sufficient specificity to allow the City of Philadelphia to ascertain what records are being requested.
Under the Right-to-Know Law, the City of Philadelphia has a duty to make a good faith effort to determine if the record(s) requested is a public record and to respond as promptly as possible under the circumstances existing at the time of the request; this time shall not exceed five business days from the date the request is received by the agency’s Open Records Officer. The Law provides that either a final or interim response be provided to the requester within five business days from the date of receipt by the agency. If the agency fails to respond within this five-day time period, the Open Records Request is deemed denied.
The Right-to-Know Law and the City of Philadelphia’s policy contemplates that requesters will receive a response within five business days. The Right-to-Know Law, however, does provide the City of Philadelphia with specific reasons that may be invoked to receive a single extension of time that shall not exceed 30 calendar days. If the 30th calendar day falls on a day when the City of Philadelphia is closed, the deadline will be the following business day.
If an extension is asserted and no response is provided to the requester within the 30-day time period, the Open Records Request is deemed denied. Additionally, if the City of Philadelphia notifies the requester it needs more than the maximum 30-day extension, the request is deemed denied unless the requester has agreed in writing to an extension to the date specified in the notice. If the requester agrees to the extension, the request shall be deemed denied on the day following the date specified in the notice if the agency has not provided a response by that date.
The City of Philadelphia’s final response to a request will:
- Grant the request;
- Deny the request;
- Grant the request in part and deny the request in part; or
- Grant the request and redact part of the information provided pursuant to the Right-to-Know Law and/or other applicable federal, state, and local law.
4. Appeals of Denied Requests
If a request for access to a record is denied (in whole or in part) or deemed denied, the requester may file an appeal within 15 business days of the mailing date of the City of Philadelphia’s denial as follows:
Records Other Than Criminal Investigative Records
Appeals of denials related to requests for records other than criminal investigative records must be directed to the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records:
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Office of Open Records
333 Market St., 16th Fl
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Criminal Investigative Records
Appeals of denials related to requests for criminal investigative records must be directed to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office within 15 business days of the mailing date of the City of Philadelphia’s denial. Appeals to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office should be directed to the following address: District Attorney’s Office, Civil Litigation Unit, Open Records Appeals Officer, Three South Penn Square, Philadelphia, PA 19107-3499.
For All Administrative Appeals
Unless the requester agrees otherwise, the Appeals Officer shall make a final determination which shall be mailed to the requester and the City of Philadelphia within 30 days of receipt of the appeal. Should the Appeals Officer fail to issue a ruling within 30 days, the appeal is deemed denied.
Before a final determination is issued, a hearing may be held. The determination by the Appeals Officer shall be a final order. The Appeals Officer shall provide a written explanation of the reasons for the decision to the requester and the City of Philadelphia.
Within 30 days of the mailing date of the final determination of the Appeals Officer, a requester or the City of Philadelphia may file a petition for review or other document(s) as required by rule of court with the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
6. Fees and Charges
Fees for duplication of records have been established and posted by the State Office of Open Records. The City of Philadelphia will charge fees consistent with the State Office of Open Records regulations.
The City of Philadelphia reserves the right to impose additional fees if it incurs costs for complying with a request, pursuant to the Right-to-Know Law; such additional fees, when charged, must be reasonable. This includes, but is not limited to, fees for enhanced electronic access and certified copies of documents.
7. Written Policies and Regulations
The City of Philadelphia and each Open Records Officer shall retain the discretion and authority to adopt any other written policies that are consistent with the Right-to-Know Law, and these policies, as amended from time to time, that they deem to be necessary or prudent, consistent with the Right-to-Know Law.