In responding to FOIA requests for records, we charge the following fees, where applicable, unless we have given you a reduction or waiver of fees. The fees we charge for search and review are three-tiered, and the hourly charge is determined by the classification and grade level of the employee performing the search or review. When the search or review is performed by employees at grade GS-1 through GS-8 (or equivalent), an hourly rate will be charged based on the salary of a GS-5, step 7, employee; when done by a GS-9 through GS-14 (or equivalent), an hourly rate will be charged based on the salary of a GS-12, step 4,employee; and when done by a GS-15 or above (or equivalent), an hourly rate will be charged based on the salary of a GS-15, step 7, employee. In each case, the hourly rate will be computed by taking the current hourly rate listed for the specified grade and step in the General Schedule Locality Pay Table for the Locality of Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA, adding 16% of that rate to cover benefits, and rounding to the nearest whole dollar.
(a) Search fees -
(1) Manual searches. Fees will be assessed to search agency files and records in both hardcopy and electronic format. Such fees will be at the rate or rates for the classification of the employee(s) performing the search, as established in this section.
(2) Computer searches. We base the fees for computer searches on the actual cost to our agency of operating the computer and the salary of the operator.
(b) Review fees.
(1) We charge review fees for time we spend examining documents that are responsive to a request to determine whether we must apply any FOIA exemptions to withhold information. Review time includes processing any record for disclosure (i.e., doing all that is necessary to prepare the record for disclosure), including redacting the record and marking the appropriate FOIA exemptions. We charge review fees even if we ultimately are unable to disclose a record.
(2) We do not charge review fees for time we spend resolving general legal or policy issues regarding the application of exemptions. However, we do charge review fees for time we spend obtaining and considering any formal objection to disclosure made by a confidential commercial information submitter.
(c) Duplication fees -
(1) Photocopying standard-sized pages. The current charge for photocopying records is $0.10 per page.
(2) Reproduction of electronic records. We will attempt to provide records in the format you sought, if the records are reasonably and readily reproducible in the requested format. We charge you for our direct costs for staff time and to organize, convert, and format data for release, per requester instructions, and for printouts or electronic media necessary to reproduce electronic records requested under the FOIA.
(3) Copying other media. We will charge you the direct cost of copying other media.
(d) Mailing and special delivery fees. We release records by United States Postal Service or, when appropriate, by electronic means, such as electronic mail or web portal. If a requester seeks special delivery, such as overnight shipping, we reserve the right to pass on the actual costs of special delivery to the requester. Requesters may provide their mailing account and billing information to the agency, so that they may pay directly for special delivery options.
(e) Certification of records. The FOIA does not require agencies to certify records as true copies. We may elect, as a matter of administrative discretion, to certify records upon request; however, such a request must be submitted in writing. Further, we will only certify as true copies records that have not left the agency's chain of custody. The charge for certification is $25.00 per record certified.
(f) Other statutes specifically providing for fees. The fee schedule of this section does not apply to fees charged under any statute that specifically requires an OpDiv or StaffDiv to set and collect fees for particular types of records. In instances where records responsive to a request are subject to a statutorily-based fee schedule program, the OpDiv or StaffDiv must inform the requester of the contact information for that program.