United States Department of the Interior
Eastern States
7450 Boston Boulevard
Springfield, Virginia 22153

August 8, 1997

1290 (910/912) P
Ref. IM 97-13, Change 1

Instruction Memorandum No. ES-97-17
Expires: 9/30/98

To: All State Office Employees
From: Associate State Director
Subject: Clarification of Procedures for Responding to Public Electronic Input or Information Requests (PEIIRs)

This Instruction Memorandum (IM) clarifies procedures set forth in IM No. ES-97-13, Change 1, dated July 31, 1997, with the subject entitled, "Procedures for Responding to Public Electronic Input or Information Requests (PEIIRs)."

The Eastern States'(ES) Internet Website has proven to be an excellent method of reaching the public to supply information rapidly. However, there are some inherent dangers relating to the potential accidental release of Privacy Act (PA) information or Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) material.

In a recent meeting between ES' Records Management personnel, External Affairs personnel, and the WebMaster, the following agreements were reached to address these issues and clarify the handling of PEIIRs within ES.

1. All incoming PEIIRs will continue to be routed to a centralized mailbox within the Office of External Affairs. The address of this mailbox will be revised to reflect the office location rather than simply a revision of a personal E-mail address. Information Resources Management (IRM) personnel will revise and delete the current address to another address and provide for multiple logins to the new address by appointed External Affairs personnel. This will offer more flexibility to the mailbox when individuals are out of the office. The WebMaster will coordinate the revision of this address within the computer routing system.

2. Where possible, External Affairs personnel opening the incoming PEIIRs will continue to respond to the PEIIRs.
Otherwise, the PEIIRs will be forwarded electronically to the responsible Division Chief or Office Chief, who will be responsible for final action or response. Paper copies of incoming PEIIRs will not be retained within External Affairs.

3. Copies of all incoming PEIIRs will also be routed to Barbara Beaudin, Records Manager, and Pam Quallich, Records Administrator, to address any concerns relating to either PA or FOIA. These personnel will review the PEIIRs to determine if there are any PA/FOIA records issues involved. If such a question arises, they will contact the respective Division Chief or Office Chief to assist in preparing the PEIIR response. If any question relating to PA/FOIA records issues arise in the preparation of a response, all ES personnel should feel free to contact either of these personnel for clarification or assistance.

4. Since we are committed to responding to PEIIRs within a period of two working days, it is strongly suggested that those personnel who are recipients of incoming PEIIRs prepare automated responses to their incoming E-mail when they are expecting to be out of the office. The automated response should note that they are out of the office, when they will return, and who can be reached in lieu of them for a more immediate response. The IRM office will help individuals set up this automated response.

5. The WebMaster will create and insert a statement on all response forms that clearly states that their PEIIR input and personal contact information could be read by outside parties. This will serve as a warning to the public that some of their personal contact information may be obtained by sources outside ES' control.

If you have any questions regarding the routing of incoming PEIIRs, or would like to revise the built-in electronic linkages for PEIIRs, please contact Harry Moritz, Special Assistant to the State Director and WebMaster, at (703) 440-1677, or on GroupWise/Internet at hmoritz@es.blm.gov.

Signed By:   Authenticated By:
Walter Rewinski   Vernadean E. White
Acting Associate State Director   Management Assistant