FY 2006 Annual FOIA Report

USDA Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights FY 2006 Annual FOIA Report

Sections I. Basic Information, II. How to Make a FOIA Request, and III. Definitions of Terms, will be completed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration.

1. Brief description of type(s) of information withheld under each statute.
2. Statement of whether a court has upheld the use of each statute. If so cite example.

V. Initial FOIA/PA Access Requests
A. Number of Initial Requests: (include all access requests, whether first party or third party) (NOTE: The total of Lines 1 and 2, minus Line 3, should equal Line 4.)

1. Number of requests pending at end of FY 05 = 12*
* Number of requests from FY05 Report was 10, but we located two cases that were pending and not closed as stated in report.
2. Number of requests received during FY 06 = 51
3. Number of requests processed during FY 06 = 52
4. Number of requests pending at end of FY 06 = 11

B. Disposition of Initial Requests: (NOTE: The total of Lines 1, 2, 3, and 4 should equal the number of requests processed shown in Line 3 of Part A.)

1. Number of total grants = 2
2. Number of partial grants = 11
3. Number of denials = 14
a. Number of times each FOIA exemption used: (count each exemption once per request)
(1) Exemption 1 = 0
(3) Exemption 3 = 0
(4) Exemption 4 = 0
(5) Exemption 5 = 11
(6) Exemption 6 = 15
(7) Exemption 7(A) = 14
(8) Exemption 7(B) = 0
(9) Exemption 7(C) = 11
(10) Exemption 7(D) = 0
(11) Exemption 7(E) = 0
(12) Exemption 7(F) = 0
(13) Exemption 8 = 0
(14) Exemption 9 = 0

4. Other reasons for nondisclosure: (total) = 25
a. No records = 9
b. Referred elsewhere (See Note) = 13
c. Request withdrawn = 1
d. Fee-related reason = 0
e. Records not reasonably described = 0
f. Not a proper FOIA request for some reason1
g. Not an agency record = 0
h. Duplicate request = 1
i. Other (specify) = 0

(Note: Do not count requests referred within your agency in this category, it pertains only to requests that are referred outside of your agency)

VI. APPEALS OF INITIAL DENIALS OF FOIA/PA REQUESTS (includes all access requests, whether first-party or third-party).
A. Number of Appeals:

1. Number of appeals received during FY 06 = 8
2. Number of appeals processed during FY 06 = 8

B. Disposition of Appeals:

1. Number completely upheld = 2
2. Number partially reversed = 3
3. Number completely reversed = 0
a. Number of times each FOIA exemption used: (count each exemption once per appeal)
(1) Exemption 1 = 0
(2) Exemption 2 = 0
(3) Exemption 3 = 0
(4) Exemption 4 = 0
(5) Exemption 5 = 1
(6) Exemption 6 = 1
(7) Exemption 7(A) = 2
(8) Exemption 7(B) = 0
(9) Exemption 7(C) = 1
(10) Exemption 7(D) = 0
(11) Exemption 7(E) = 0
(12) Exemption 7(F) = 0
(13) Exemption 8 = 0
(14) Exemption 9 = 0

4. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total):5
a. No records = 3
b. Referred elsewhere = 0
c. Request withdrawn1
d. Fee-related reason1
e. Records not reasonably described = 0
f. Not a proper FOIA request for some reason = 0
g. Not an agency record = 0
h. Duplicate request = 0
i. Other (specify) = 0

VII. COMPLIANCE WITH TIME LIMITS/STATUS OF PENDING REQUESTS.
A. Median Processing Time For Requests: (Example for calculation of median: Given 7 requests completed during the fiscal year, aged 10, 25, 35, 65, 75, 80, and 400 days from date of perfection to date of completion, the total number of requests completed during the fiscal year would be 7 and the median age of the completed requests would be 65 days.)

1. Simple requests (if multiple tracks used)
a. Number of requests processed = 0
b. Median number of days to process = 0

2. Complex requests (specify for any and all tracks used)
a. Number of requests processed = 52
b. Median number of days to process = 28

3. Requests accorded expedited processing
a. Number of requests processed = 0
b. Median number of days to process = 0

(NOTE: The number of requests listed in the different tracks must equal the number of requests processed from section A, Line 3.)

B. Status of Pending Requests: (Agencies using multiple tracks may provide numbers for each track as well as totals.)
1. Number of requests pending at end of FY 06 = 11
2. Median number of days requests were pending at end of FY 0640

VIII. COMPARISONS WITH PREVIOUS YEAR(S) (Optional)
E. Describe Agency Efforts To:

1. Improve timeliness The Office of Civil Rights Director has provided clerical assistance to the FOIA Specialist to assist in the processing of requests containing voluminous documents.
2. Reduce backlog
3. Provide training The Office of Civil Rights Director has nominated two employees for DOJ training in an effort to increase the knowledge of FOIA in the Office of Civil Rights and to provide additional assistance to the FOIA Specialist.
4. Add new categories of records

IX. COSTS/FOIA STAFFING.
A. Staffing Levels:

1. Number of full-time FOIA personnel1
2. Number of personnel with part-time or occasional FOIA duties (in work-years).1
3. Total number of personnel (Work-years)1.1

B. Total Costs: (include staff and all resources) (Note: Use +20% for overhead.)

1. FOIA processing (including appeals) 93,423
2. Litigation-related activities (estimated)0
3. Total costs 93,423
4. Comparison with previous year(s) (optional)

C. Statement of additional resources needed for FOIA compliance (optional).
X. FEES: (includes charges for search, review, document duplication, and any other direct costs permitted under agency regulations.)
A. Total amount of fees collected for processing requests = 0
B. Percentage of total costs = 0
XI. FOIA REGULATIONS: (including Fee Schedule):
XII. Report on FOIA Executive Order Implementation
A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable).

N/A. USDA FOIA Officer will provide for the Agency.

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area.

Improvement of Agency's FOIA Reference Guide. The goal was for ASCR to review the contents of the FOIA Reference Guide posted on the website to ensure that the information is current. Target completion: 12-31-06

Steps:
Review and update the contents of the FOIA reference guide. Target Completion: 11-30-06 Completed: 11-30-06
Post revised guide to ASCR FOIA website. Target Completion: 12-31-06 Completed: 11-30-06

Electronic FOIA-Automated Tracking and Processing The goal was for ASCR to research the available electronic FOIA tracking systems and redaction tools. Target Completion: 02-30-07

Steps:
Review available FOIA systems.Target Completion: 12-30-06 Completed: 10-01-2006

Overall FOIA Website Improvement. The goal was for ASCR to review the contents of the FOIA website and make changes as necessary. Target completion: 12-31-06

Steps:
Review the contents of the ASCR FOIA website. Target Completion: 12-31-06 Completed: 11-30-06
Work with ASCR Webmaster to make necessary revisions, if any. Target Completion: 12-31-06 Completed: 11-30-06

Increased Staffing. The goal was for ASCR to provide assistance to FOIA Specialist for clerical duties and redaction assistance when available. Target completion: 12-31-06 (and continuing thereafter).

Steps:
Review staff to find available personnel to provide assistance to FOIA Specialist. Target Completion 11-30-06 Completed: 07-01-2006
Provide general instruction to assistant(s) in the processing of FOIA cases. Target Completion 12-31-06 Completed: 07-01-2006
FOIA Specialist to begin utilizing the assistant(s) provided by ASCR. Target Completion 12-31-06 Completed: 07-01-2006

Purchase of New Equipment. The goal was for ASCR to look into the feasibility of acquiring a scanner or color copier to assist the FOIA specialist in the redaction process. Target completion: 12-31-06

Steps:
Work with the Office of Operations to obtain improved copier equipment. Target Completion 9-30-06 Completed: 9-30-06
Receive approval to purchase new copier equipment. Target Completion 9-30-06 Completed: 9-30-06
Receive and implement new copier equipment Target Completion 9-30-06 Completed: 9-30-06

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable).

Purchase of New Equipment. The goal was for ASCR to look into the feasibility of acquiring a scanner or color copier to assist the FOIA specialist in the redaction process. Target completion: 12-31-06 This item was not complete due to the delay in the delivery and installation of the new equipment. According to the Office of Operations equipment may be delayed until early 2007.

Steps:
Receive and implement new copier equipment Target Completion 9-30-06 Not Completed: Installation Delayed

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional).
E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions. To be provided by USDA FOIA Officer
F. Additional statistics:

Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency). August 4, 2005 - September 26, 2006
Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication. No consultations

G. Attachment: Agency improvement plan (in current form).