Maryland Public Information Act Requests
In order to review or obtain copies of records in the custody of the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW), you must file a written request under the Maryland Public Information Act (“PIA” or “the Act”). The PIA is found in Sections 4-101 through 4-601 of the General Provisions Article of the Code of Maryland. The PIA is similar to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552, but was enacted to provide public access to non-exempt records maintained by the State of Maryland and local governments.
Making a Request under the Act
To determine which City agency may be the appropriate custodian of records for your request, please see the Maryland Manual's online directory. DPW has a point of contact who responds to written requests for records in DPW’s custody.
Requests may be submitted via email to:
Requests may also be submitted via U.S. Mail to:
200 Holliday Street, Suite 203
Baltimore, MD 21202
A request for records in DPW’s custody should be made in writing (GP § 4-202). Please include an email or return mailing address when submitting a request to allow DPW to respond. Email is preferred, but not required. You may also use the Maryland's Public Information Act Form as a template for submissions, but it is not required. Requests must include a reasonable description of the records sought and should be as specific as possible.
Time for Response
DPW will respond to each PIA request as promptly as reasonable. Within ten (10) days of receipt, a written response will be sent along with the non-exempt, responsive documents in DPW’s custody, or a written notice will be sent notifying you that the response could take up to 30 days to process from the date the application was received.
If a request can be completed in fewer than two (2) hours, the responsive records will be provided at no cost. If a request will take longer than two (2) hours to complete, a written time estimate for completion will be provided and a reasonable fee will be assessed. GP § 4-206. Applicable fees may be waived if DPW determines that a fee waiver would be in the public interest. GP § 4-206(e)(2)(ii). Fees are based solely on the actual cost incurred by DPW to search for, review, and produce the records requested. The cost is calculated by prorating the salaries of the staff and attorneys for the actual time they will spend preparing the response. GP § 4-206(b)(2).
Some Information Not Subject to Disclosure
Although the PIA favors public access to records, the Act limits disclosure in circumstances where the Maryland General Assembly has determined that records or information must remain private or confidential. For example, medical records, Social Security numbers, and the home addresses and phone numbers of government employees are protected. Other exceptions also apply under State and federal law. However, if a responsive record contains both exempt and non-exempt information under the Act, the exempt information will be redacted if possible and the document will be made available to the applicant if permissible.
You may download the public record request form on the Public Works' Website.