[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 145 (Wednesday, July 29, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 45065-45067]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-18557]


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POSTAL SERVICE

39 CFR Parts 261, 262, and 265


Records and Information

AGENCY: Postal ServiceTM.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Postal Service is amending its regulations concerning 
records and information management for administrative purposes, to 
clarify existing text, and to update and add definitions.

DATES: These regulations will be effective July 29, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matthew J. Connolly, Chief Privacy 
Officer, 202-268-2608.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Overview

    The Postal Service is amending 39 CFR parts 261, 262, and 265 to 
delineate more clearly the responsibility for managing postal records 
and ensuring compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). See 
5 U.S.C. 552; 39 U.S.C. 410(c). In general, these modifications should 
promote the coordination of activities among the Officers, Public 
Liaisons, Coordinators, and Records Custodians tasked with FOIA 
compliance, and facilitate the response to information requests by FOIA 
Requester Service Centers (RSCs).

Records and Information Management (Part 261)

    As required by 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(1), the amendments to part 261 
provide descriptions of the Postal Service's central and field 
organization for FOIA processing. Specifically, the amendments clarify 
the position of the Postal Service's Privacy and Records Office within 
the General Counsel's Office. As further required by 5 U.S.C. 
552(a)(6)(B)(ii), the amendments also describe the Postal Service's 
FOIA Public Liaisons and their responsibilities to requesters through 
the Postal Service's FOIA Requester Service Centers.

Records and Information Management Definitions (Part 262)

    As required by 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(B), the amendments to part 262 
provide further descriptions of the Postal Service's central and field 
organization for FOIA processing. Specifically, the amendments describe 
various officials involved in FOIA processing and their 
responsibilities.

Release of Information (Part 265)

    As required by 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(1), the amendments to part 265 
provide descriptions of the established places at which, the employees 
from whom, and the methods whereby the public may obtain information, 
make submittals or requests, and obtain decisions regarding FOIA 
requests. Specifically, the amendments describe how and to whom a FOIA 
request must be submitted, and clarify that the regulations must be 
read in conjunction with the text of the FOIA, the Fee Schedule and 
Guidelines published by the Office of Management and Budget, and Postal 
Service Handbook AS-353, Guide to Privacy, the Freedom of Information 
Act, and Records Management. FOIA requests must now be sent to the 
appropriate FOIA Requester Service Center (RSC), as detailed in the 
regulations. A request that is not initially submitted to the 
appropriate FOIA RSC will be deemed to have been received by the Postal 
Service for purposes of computing the time for response at the time 
that it is actually received by the appropriate FOIA RSC or at the time 
the request is referred to the appropriate records custodians by a FOIA 
RSC, but in any case a request will be deemed to have been received no 
later than 10 days after the request is first received by a FOIA RSC.

List of Subjects

39 CFR Part 261

    Archives and records.

39 CFR Part 262

    Archives and records.

39 CFR Part 265

    Administrative practice and procedure, Courts, Freedom of 
information, Government employees.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Postal Service amends 
39 CFR chapter I, subchapter D as follows:

PART 261--[AMENDED]

0
1. The authority citation for 39 CFR part 261 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 39 U.S.C. 401.


0
2. Revise Sec.  261.1 to read as follows:


Sec.  261.1  Purpose and scope.

    Under 39 U.S.C. 410, as enacted by the Postal Reorganization Act, 
the U.S. Postal Service is not subject to the provisions of the Federal 
Records Act of 1950, or any of its supporting regulations which provide 
for the conduct of records management in Federal agencies. The 
objective of parts 261 through 268 of this chapter are to provide the 
basis for an organization-wide records and information management 
program affecting all Postal Service organizational components having 
the custody of any form of information and records.

0
3. Revise Sec.  261.2 to read as follows:


Sec.  261.2  Authority.

    (a) As provided in 39 U.S.C. 401(5), the Postal Service has the 
power to acquire property it deems necessary or convenient in the 
transaction of its business and to hold, maintain, sell, lease or 
otherwise dispose of such property.
    (b) Under Sec.  262.2 of this chapter, the Postal Service Privacy 
and Records Office, located under the Associate General Counsel and 
Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, is responsible for the retention, 
security, and privacy of Postal Service records and is empowered to 
authorize the disclosure of such records and to order their disposal by 
destruction or transfer. Included is the authority to issue records 
management policy and to delegate or take appropriate action if that 
policy is not adhered to or if questions of interpretation of procedure 
arise.

0
4. Revise Sec.  261.4 to read as follows:


Sec.  261.4  Responsibility.

    (a) The Chief Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Officer, whose 
duties are performed by the Associate General Counsel and Chief Ethics 
and Compliance Officer, is responsible for:
    (1) Overseeing Postal Service compliance with the FOIA.
    (2) Making recommendations to the Postmaster General regarding the 
Postal Service's FOIA program.
    (3) Monitoring and reporting on FOIA implementation and performance 
for the Postal Service.
    (b) The Chief Privacy Officer, under the Associate General Counsel 
and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, is responsible for 
administering records and information management policies, and the 
privacy of information programs, and for the compliance of all

[[Page 45066]]

handbooks, directives, and instructions in support of these policies 
and programs.
    (c) The Deputy Chief FOIA Officer, under the Privacy and Records 
Office, administers the Postal Service release of information program 
with the assistance of FOIA Coordinators in Headquarters departments 
and area and district offices.
    (d) Freedom of Information Act Public Liaisons are responsible for:
    (1) Managing FOIA Requester Service Centers (RSCs).
    (2) Receiving concerns of requesters about the service provided by 
the FOIA RSC following an initial response.
    (3) Ensuring a service-oriented response to requests and FOIA-
related inquiries.
    (4) Reporting to the Chief FOIA Officer on their activities.
    (e) Freedom of Information Act Requester Service Centers are 
responsible for:
    (1) Facilitating communication between the Postal Service and FOIA 
requesters.
    (2) Providing information to requesters concerning the status of 
FOIA requests and information about responses to such requests.
    (f) Freedom of Information Act Coordinators fill an ad hoc position 
located within each Headquarters department, and Area and District 
office, and are responsible for:
    (1) Coordinating and tracking FOIA requests referred to or received 
by their functional or geographical area.
    (2) Providing procedural guidance, upon request, to records 
custodians.
    (3) Assisting the Deputy Chief FOIA Officer with national reporting 
activities, such as annual reporting of local FOIA and Privacy Act 
activities.
    (g) Records Custodians are responsible for ensuring that records 
within their facilities or organizations are managed according to 
Postal Service policies. Vice presidents or their designees are the 
custodians of records maintained at Headquarters. In the field, the 
Records Custodian is the head of a Postal Service facility such as an 
area, district, Post Office, or other Postal Service installation or 
designee that maintains Postal Service records. Senior medical 
personnel are the custodians of restricted medical records maintained 
within Postal Service facilities. The Custodian of Employee Assistance 
Program (EAP) records is the Postal Service counselor, a supplier, or 
the public health service, whichever provided the services.
    (h) Postal Service managers are responsible for administering 
records and information management policies and for complying with all 
handbooks, directives, and instructions in support of this policy.

PART 262--[AMENDED]

0
5. The authority citation for 39 CFR part 262 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552, 552a; 39 U.S.C. 401.


0
6. Revise Sec.  262.2 to read as follows:


Sec.  262.2  Officials.

    (a) Chief Privacy Officer. The Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) is 
responsible for the issuance of policy on the protection of privacy and 
the release of Postal Service records. The CPO has the power to 
authorize the disclosure of such records. Additionally, the CPO is 
responsible for establishing procedures and guidelines to ensure that 
record management practices are in compliance with the Privacy Act and 
FOIA. The CPO directs the activities of the Privacy and Records Office 
and may also delegate or take appropriate action if policies are not 
adhered to or if questions of interpretation or procedures arise.
    (b) Deputy Chief FOIA Officer. The Deputy Chief FOIA Officer, under 
the Privacy and Records Office, administers the Postal Service release 
of information program and has the power to authorize the disclosure of 
records. The Deputy Chief FOIA Officer oversees FOIA Requester Service 
Centers (RSCs).
    (c) Records Custodian. The Records Custodian is the postmaster or 
other head of a facility such as an area vice president, district 
manager, or head of a postal installation or department who maintains 
Postal Service records. Vice presidents are the custodians of records 
maintained at Headquarters. Senior medical personnel are the custodians 
of restricted medical records maintained within postal facilities.
    (d) Information System Executive. This is the Postal Service 
official, usually a vice president, who prescribes the existence of and 
the policies for an information system.
    (e) Records Office. The Records Office is responsible for the 
issuance of policy on the maintenance and disposition of Postal Service 
records and information, and to delegate or take appropriate action if 
such policy is not adhered to or if questions of interpretation or 
procedure arise.

PART 265--[AMENDED]

0
7. The authority citation for 39 CFR part 265 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552; 5 U.S.C. App. 3; 39 U.S.C. 401, 403, 
410, 1001, 2601.


0
8. Revise Sec.  265.1 to read as follows:


Sec.  265.1  Purpose and scope.

    (a) This part contains the regulations of the Postal Service 
relating to the availability to the public of Postal Service records. 
Included in this part are the regulations which implement the Freedom 
of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, insofar as it applies to the 
Postal Service. These rules should be read in conjunction with the text 
of the FOIA and the Fee Schedule and Guidelines published by the Office 
of Management and Budget. Additionally, Postal Service Handbook AS-353, 
Guide to Privacy, the Freedom of Information, and Records Management, 
contains information for the public about submitting FOIA requests and 
the specific procedures used by the Postal Service when responding to 
FOIA requests. This resource is available at http://www.usps.com.
    (b) Official records of the Postal Service made available pursuant 
to the requirements of the Act shall be furnished to members of the 
public as prescribed by this part.

0
9. Revise Sec.  265.3 to read as follows:


Sec.  265.3  Responsibility.

    (a) Records custodian. Official records are in the custody of the 
Postmaster or other head of a facility or department at which they are 
maintained, as defined at Sec.  261.4(c) of this chapter. These 
custodians are responsible for responding in the first instance to 
requests from members of the public for Postal Service records.
    (b) Deputy Chief FOIA Officer. The Deputy Chief FOIA Officer, under 
the Privacy and Records Office is responsible for the overall 
administration of this part, including the issuance of detailed 
instructions to custodians.
    (c) General Counsel. The General Counsel decides timely appeals 
authorized by this part.

0
10. Revise Sec.  265.4 to read as follows:


Sec.  265.4  Inquiries.

    Inquiries regarding the availability of Postal Service records must 
be directed to the appropriate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 
Requester Service Center (RSC). A description of FOIA RSCs is available 
at http://www.usps.com. If the appropriate FOIA RSC is not known, 
inquiries should be directed to the FOIA Requester Service Center, 
Privacy and Records Office, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza 
SW., Washington, DC 20260, telephone (202) 268-2608.

[[Page 45067]]


0
11. In Sec.  265.7, revise the section heading and paragraphs (a)(1) 
and (2) to read as follows:


Sec.  265.7  Procedure for submitting a FOIA request.

    (a) Submission of requests--(1) Form and content of request. To 
permit expeditious handling and timely response in accordance with the 
provisions of this part, a request to inspect or to obtain a copy of an 
identifiable Postal Service record must be in writing and bear the 
caption ``Freedom of Information Act Request'' or otherwise be clearly 
and prominently identified as a request for records pursuant to the 
Freedom of Information Act. A request must be clearly and prominently 
identified as such on the envelope or other cover. Requests for 
records, submitted by the public that are not labeled as Freedom of 
Information Act requests will be handled as FOIA requests when received 
by the appropriate Requester Service Center in accordance with 
paragraph (b) of this section, but they may be delayed in reaching the 
appropriate Requester Service Center. A Freedom of Information Act 
request must identify the record sought as completely as possible, by 
name, description, or subject matter, and be sufficient to permit the 
custodian to locate it with a reasonable amount of effort. The request 
may state the maximum amount of fees for which the requester is willing 
to accept liability without prior notice. See paragraph (f)(2) of Sec.  
265.8. If no amount is stated, the requester will be deemed willing to 
accept liability for fees not to exceed $25.
    (2) To whom submitted. A request must be submitted to the 
appropriate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requester Service Center 
(RSC). If the FOIA RSC is not known, an inquiry should be directed to 
the FOIA Requester Service Center, Privacy and Records Office, U.S. 
Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., Washington, DC 20260, telephone 
(202) 268-2608. The FOIA RSC will either process the request or refer 
the request to the appropriate component or records custodians. The 
FOIA RSC will advise the requester of any such referral. A request that 
is not initially submitted to the appropriate FOIA RSC will be deemed 
to have been received by the Postal Service for purposes of computing 
the time for response in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section 
at the time that it is actually received by the appropriate FOIA RSC or 
at the time the request is referred to the appropriate records 
custodians by a FOIA RSC, but in any case a request will be deemed to 
have been received no later than 10 days after the request is first 
received by a FOIA RSC. If a request seeks records maintained at two or 
more facilities, the custodian shall be deemed to be the next senior 
common supervisor of the heads of the facilities, e.g., district 
manager, area vice president. The Records Office is deemed to be the 
custodian, for purposes of this part, in all instances in which a 
request is for a listing of postal employees. See paragraph (a)(6) of 
Sec.  265.6.
* * * * *

Stanley F. Mires,
Attorney, Federal Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2015-18557 Filed 7-28-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 7710-12-P