Written on: November 4th, 2015 in Manufactured Housing
The Delaware Manufactured Home Relocation Authority (“DEMHRA”) requested advice on (i) whether 25 Del. C. § 7014(a) requires DEMHRA to grant abandoned home benefits to an applying landowner when “the home in question has been abandoned before the landowner announced its intent to engage in a change of use in the park”; and (ii) whether the landowner’s continued payment of DEMHRA assessments between the time of a homeowner’s abandonment and the landowner’s announcement of a change in use has any effect on that landowner’s right to collect benefits. Based on our review of the Act, the factual scenario outlined by DEMHRA’s letter and applicable law, we believe that the provisions of the Act that permit DEMHRA to provide financial assistance to landowners for the removal or disposal of an abandoned manufactured home are limited to situations in which the manufactured home in question was abandoned as a result of a “change in use” plan being filed by the landowner. To make the contrary determination would, in our view, expand the limited scope of the Act into a general assistance program designed to help landlords of manufactured home communities with assistance in removing and/or disposing of abandoned manufactured homes. We believe that if the General Assembly had intended to create such a program – the efficacy or desirability of which we take no position on – it would have done so in clear and explicit language. Absent such a legislative change, it is our advice that DEMHRA lacks the authority to provide financial assistance to the landowner in the factual scenario described by your letter.
Written on: November 3rd, 2015 in 10002(h) Public Body
The petitioner requested a determination that the Data Service Center (“DSC”) is a public body obligated to produce public records in their custody. Held: The DSC is a “public body” within the meaning of 29 Del. C. § 10002(h). The DSC is also a custodian of the records requested by Mr. Wells. The DSC should work with the various school districts to promptly produce all public records in accordance with the terms of the statute. This determination should not be interpreted to mean that the DSC is required to create records or reports that do not exist, or produce records subject to an exemption to FOIA under 29 Del. C. §10002(l).
Written on: August 27th, 2015 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE Attorney General Opinion No. 15-IB07 August 27, 2015 The Honorable Elaine Manlove State Election Commissioner 905 S. Governors Ave Ste 170 Dover, Delaware 19904 RE: Required Disclosure of Identity of Political Party Funding Campaign Advertisements Dear Commissioner Manlove: You have asked whether the […]
Written on: August 19th, 2015 in 10001 Declaration of Policy, 10004(c) Requirements to Meet in Executive Session, 10004(f) Minutes Requirements
The petitioners made 8 allegations of Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) violations by the Town of Dewey Beach (“the Town”) including holding discussion of a potential property purchase by email, holding a special meeting inconsistent with regular meeting day and time, posting insufficient or inaccurate agendas for two meetings, failing to meet the 15 business day deadline to provide requested records, and by failing to keep minutes of executive sessions. Held: The emails regarding property purchase did not constitute a “serial meeting” because there was not a quorum of commissioners participating. Meeting notices, agendas, and use of executive sessions complied with FOIA. A properly noticed meeting does not violate FOIA by being held at a different day and time than usual. The Town missed the 15 day deadline to provide requested records and failed to create minutes of the meeting of January 2, 2015 in a timely manner.
The petitioner requested a determination of whether the Cape Henlopen Senior Center (“CHSC”) is a “public body” subject to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). Held: CHSC is not a public body because it is not a “regulatory, administrative, advisory, executive, appointive or legislative body of the State, or of any political subdivision of the State” and it was not established by governmental act or entity as described in FOIA. The mere fact that CHSC receives a large portion of its funding from the State and Sussex County is not sufficient to subject it to FOIA because it does fall within the first statutory requirement.
Written on: June 29th, 2015 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE Attorney General Opinion No. 15-IB04 June 29, 2015 VIA EMAIL AND U.S. MAIL Mitch Crane, Esquire Chairman Delaware Manufactured Housing Relocation Authority 110 Main Street, Suite G Camden, DE 19934 Dear Mr. Crane: In your letter of April 28, 2015 (the “Request”), on behalf of […]
Written on: June 17th, 2015 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
The petitioner alleged that the Kent County Recorder of Deeds violated FOIA by not providing requested documents in a format that could be stored on external media. Held: Because FOIA only requires a public body to provide “reasonable access” to the public records, and two alternatives for reasonable access were offered to the Petitioner (inspection and copying during business hours or a paid subscription service), there was no FOIA violation.
Written on: June 12th, 2015 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
The petitioner requested a determination of whether the Department of Education (“the Department”) had violated the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) by withholding requested documents until he paid $6,568.86 for their procurement, an amount he believed to be overestimated in order to discourage the request. Held: A FOIA violation occurred because the fees were not reasonable and were reduced by the Department of Justice to a maximum of $1,725.04, but there was no basis to conclude that the original estimate was intended to discourage the petitioner’s request. It was not a FOIA violation for the Department to require payment of some of all of the fees in advance.
Written on: June 12th, 2015 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
The petitioner alleged the Appoquinimink School Board (“the Board”) committed multiple violations of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”); specifically, they were alleged to have voted on a superintendent contract (“the Contract”) while in executive session, not provided sufficient notice that the contract would be discussed in agendas for two dates, and corrected an agenda to reflect the discussion after the meeting had been held. Held: The Board violated FOIA’s open meetings requirements when it (i) discussed the Contract in executive session at the June 2014 Board meeting for purposes not authorized by FOIA; (ii) failed to specifically list the consideration of the Contract in the June 2014 Meeting agendas; and (iii) failed to specifically list the discussion of the Contract in the December 2014 Meeting agenda.
Written on: November 3rd, 2014 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
OFFICE FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE Attorney General Opinion No. 14-IB06 November 3, 2014 VIA EMAIL AND REGULAR MAIL Aaron M. Shapiro, Esquire Labor and Employment Practices Administrator State of Delaware Office of Management and Budget Carvel State Office Building, 10th Floor 820 N. French Street Wilmington, DE 19801 Re: Request for […]