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ADV PR 15-03 In re City of Woonsocket Wastewater Treatment Facility

The City of Woonsocket ("City") sought this Department's advice concerning whether certain financial data contained in a proposal submitted by a contractor in response to an RFP was not a public record. It is this Department's practice/policy to issue Advisory Opinions only on pending matters. See Chrabaszcz v. Johnston School Department, PR 04-15. In this case, we were advised that the basis for the instant advisory request was "dormant," but the City still wanted the advisory opinion because "Woonsocket is about to seek a private contractor for a new water treatment plant project," so there was the "expectation" the same issue may arise again. Our determination of whether a particular document is exempt or not under the APRA requires a case-by-case analysis where we apply the APRA to the particular document at issue. Respectfully, to speculate on the nature of a future document at issue and even the nature of any information that a future successful bidder may believe is exempt would not be consistent with our precedent or the APRA. For these reasons, we declined to issue an Advisory Opinion.

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