Freedom of Information Act Annual Report 1999

October 1, 1998 to September 30, 1999

    1. Basic Information Regarding Report
      1. Name, title, address, and telephone number of person(s) to be contacted with questions about the report.

        Denise Smith
        FOIA Officer
        Tennessee Valley Authority
        400 West Summit Hill Drive (ET 5D)
        Knoxville, Tennessee 37902-1499
        (865) 632-6945
      2. Electronic address for report on the world Wide Web.

http://www.tva.gov/foia/foia_annual99.htm

      1. How to obtain a copy of the report in paper form.

        Contact Denise Smith at the above address and/or telephone number.
    1. How to Make a FOIA Request

      For basic information about how to make a FOIA request, visit our Website at http://www.tva.gov/foia.
      1. Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all individual agency components and offices that receive FOIA requests.
        All FOIA requests to TVA should be directed to Ms. Smith at the address given above.
      2. Brief description of the agency's response-time ranges.
        The median time for responding to all requests in FY99 was 28 days.
      3. Brief description of why some requests are not granted.
        The primary reasons for not granting requests for which records were located is that disclosure would result in an unwarranted or clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy or that the records were protected by the deliberative or attorney client privilege.

 

  1. Definitions of Terms and Acronyms Used in the Report
    1. Agency-specific acronyms or other terms.
      TVA is Tennessee Valley Authority
    2. Basic terms, expressed in common terminology.
      1. FOIA/PA request -- Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act request. A FOIA request is generally a request for access to records concerning a third party, an organization, or a particular topic of interest. A Privacy Act request is a request for records concerning oneself; such requests are also treated as FOIA requests. (All requests for access to records, regardless of which law is cited by the requester, are included in this report.)
      2. Initial Request -- a request to a federal agency for access to records under the Freedom of Information Act.
      3. Appeal -- a request to a federal agency asking that it review at a higher administrative level a full denial or partial denial of access to records under the Freedom of Information Act, or any other FOIA determination such as a matter pertaining to fees.
      4. Processed Request or Appeal -- a request or appeal for which an agency has taken a final action on the request or the appeal in all respects.
      5. Multi-track processing -- a system in which simple requests requiring relatively minimal review are placed in one processing track and more voluminous and complex requests are placed in one or more other tracks. Requests in each track are processed on a first-in/first-out basis. A requester who has an urgent need for records may request expedited processing (see below).
      6. Expedited processing -- an agency will process a FOIA request on an expedited basis when a requester has shown an exceptional need or urgency for the records which warrants prioritization of his or her request over other requests that were made earlier.
      7. Simple request -- a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in its fastest (nonexpedited) track based on the volume and/or simplicity of records requested.
      8. Complex request -- a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in a slower track based on the volume and/or complexity of records requested.
      9. Grant -- an agency decision to disclose all records in full in response to a FOIA request.
      10. Partial grant -- an agency decision to disclose a record in part in response to a FOIA request, deleting information determined to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA's exemptions; or a decision to disclose some records in their entireties, but to withhold others in whole or in part.
      11. Denial -- an agency decision not to release any part of a record or records in response to a FOIA request because all the information in the requested records is determined by the agency to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA's exemptions, or for some procedural reason (such as because no record is located in response to a FOIA request).
      12. Time limits -- the time period in the Freedom of Information Act for an agency to respond to a FOIA request (ordinarily 20 working days from proper receipt of a "perfected" FOIA request).
      13. "Perfected" request -- a FOIA request for records which adequately describes the records sought, which has been received by the FOIA office of the agency or agency component in possession of the records, and for which there is no remaining question about the payment of applicable fees.
      14. Exemption 3 statute -- a separate federal statute prohibiting the disclosure of a certain type of information and authorizing its withholding under FOIA § (b) (3).
      15. Median number -- the middle, not average, number. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the median number is 7.
      16. Average number -- the number obtained by dividing the sum of a group of numbers by the quantity of numbers in the group. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the average number is 8.
  2. Exemption 3 Statutes
    1. List of Exemption 3 statutes relied on by agency during current fiscal year.
      1. Brief description of type(s) of information withheld under each statute.
        Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended, at 41 U.S.C. § 253b(m), prohibits the release or disclosure of an unsuccessful technical, management or cost proposal submitted by a contractor in response to the requirements of a solicitation for a competitive proposal.
      2. Statement of whether a court has upheld the use of each statute. If so, then cite example.
        There were no court challenges to TVA's determinations to invoke Exemption 3.
  3. Initial FOIA/PA Access Requests
    1. Numbers of initial requests.
      1. Number of requests pending as of end of preceding fiscal year     25    
      2. Number of requests received during current fiscal year     184    
      3. Number of requests processed during current fiscal year     169    
      4. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year     37    
    2. Disposition of initial requests.
      1. Number of total grants     70    
      2. Number of partial grants     50    
      3. Number of denials     17    
        1. number of times each FOIA exemption used (counting each exemption once per request)
          (1) Exemption 1     0    
          (2) Exemption 2     1    
          (3) Exemption 3     6    
          (4) Exemption 4     14    
          (5) Exemption 5     44    
          (6) Exemption 6     37    
          (7) Exemption 7(A)     1    
          (8) Exemption 7(B     0    
          (9) Exemption 7(C)     12    
          (10) Exemption 7(D)     1    
          (11) Exemption 7(E)     4    
          (12) Exemption 7(F)     0    
          (13) Exemption 8     0    
          (14) Exemption 9     0    
      4. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total)     37    
        1. no records     20    
        2. referrals     0    
        3. request withdrawn     11    
        4. fee-related reasons     6    
        5. records not reasonably described     0    
        6. not a proper FOIA request for some other reasons     0    
        7. not an agency record     0    
        8. duplicate request     0    
        9. other (specify)     0    
  4. Appeals of Initial Denials of FOIA/PA Requests
    1. Number of appeals.
      1. Number of appeals received during fiscal year     12    
      2. Number of appeals processed during fiscal year     12    
    2. Disposition of appeals.
      1. Number completely upheld     7    
      2. Number partially reversed     4    
      3. Number completely reversed     1    
        1. number of times each FOIA exemption used (counting each exemption once per appeal)
          (1) Exemption 1     0    
          (2) Exemption 2     0    
          (3) Exemption 3     1    
          (4) Exemption 4     6    
          (5) Exemption 5     8    
          (6) Exemption 6     4    
          (7) Exemption 7(A)     0    
          (8) Exemption 7(B)     0    
          (9) Exemption 7(C)     2    
          (10) Exemption 7(D)     1    
          (11) Exemption 7(E)     1    
          (12) Exemption 7(F)     0    
          (13) Exemption 8     0    
          (14) Exemption 9     0    
      4. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total)     2    
        1. no records     1    
        2. referrals     0    
        3. request withdrawn     0    
        4. fee-related reasons     0    
        5. records not reasonably described     0    
        6. not a proper FOIA request for some other reasons     0    
        7. not an agency record     1    
        8. duplicate request     0    
        9. other (specify)     0   
  5. Compliance with Time Limits/Status of Pending Requests
    1. Median processing time for requests processed during the year.
      1. Track 1
        1. number of requests processed     87    
        2. median number of days to process     12    
      2. Track 2
        1. number of requests processed     62    
        2. median number of days to process     53    
      3. Track 3
        1. number of requests processed     20    
        2. median number of days to process     115    
      4. Requests accorded expedited processing
        1. number of requests processed     0    
        2. median number of days to process     0    
    2. Status of pending requests.
      1. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year     37    
      2. Median number of days that such requests were pending as of that date     76    
  6. Comparisons with Previous Year(s)
    1. Comparison of numbers of requests received
          FY98: 160    
          FY99: 184    
    2. Comparison of numbers of requests processed
          FY98: 172    
          FY99: 169    
    3. Comparison of median numbers of days requests were pending as of end of fiscal year     1.71% inc.    
    4. Other statistics significant to agency     None    
    5. Other narrative statements describing agency efforts to improve timeliness of FOIA performance and to make records available to the public (e.g., backlog-reduction efforts; specification of average number of hours per processed request; training activities; public availability of new categories of records)

      FY99 was the first full year TVA's FOIA website and electronic reading room were operational. During FY99, TVA also made more information available to the public on its general web site. Several potential requesters called the FOIA office and were referred to either TVA's general website or the FOIA website where they retrieved information instead of submitting a FOIA request.
  7. Costs/FOIA Staffing

    1. Staffing levels.
      1. Number of full-time FOIA personnel     2.5    
      2. Number of personnel with part-time or occasional FOIA duties (in total work-years)     .5    
      3. Total number of personnel (in work-years)     3    
    2. Total costs (including staff and all resources).
      1. FOIA processing (including appeals)     $230,000    
      2. Litigation-related activities (estimated)     $25,000    
      3. Total costs     $255,000    
      4. Comparison with previous year(s) (including percentage of change) (optional)     5% inc.    
    3. Statement of additional resources needed for FOIA compliance (optional)
      None (current resources are adequate)
  8. Fees
    1. Total amount of fees collected by agency for processing requests     $3,794.42    
    2. Percentage of total costs     .0148%    
  9. FOIA Regulations (Including Fee Schedule)
    TVA's FOIA regulations are located at 18 C.F.R. Part 1301, and can be accessed electronically at http://www.tva.gov/foia/foia_regulations.htm.