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Attorney General Matt Denn


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  Archived Posts From: 2005

10002a-definitions

05-IB26: Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against Town of Middletown

Written on: August 29th, 2005 in 10002(a) Agenda

Complainant alleged that the Town violated the FOIA open meeting requirements by not: (1) giving the public adequate notice of matters to be discussed under the agenda headings “Old Business” and “Unfinished Business”; (2) giving the public adequate notice of matters to be discussed in executive session under the agenda heading “Personnel and Legal Matters”; (3) following the proper procedures forgoing into executive session; and by (4) allowing members of the public who are not members of the Town Council to attend executive sessions. The Complainant also alleges that the Town violated the public records requirements of FOIA by denying access to requested minutes of executive sessions. The Town did not violate the public notice requirements of FOIA by: (1) discussing informational-only matters and hearing comments and questions from citizens during the period of public meetings reserved for “New Business” or “Unfinished Business”; (2) using a shorthand agenda heading (“Personnel” or “Legal Issues”) to give notice to the public that the Town Council would meet in executive session and for what purpose; or (3) by voting to go into executive session at the start of the next month’s meeting of the Council, so long as the Town properly noticed the executive session in the agenda for the next month’s meeting and the Council voted again in public to go into executive session. However, the Town did violate FOIA by denying access to the minutes of executive sessions because the Town has failed to show either that: (1) the Town Council met in executive session for a purpose authorized by law; or (2) disclosure at this time would defeat the lawful purpose for an executive session authorized by law.


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10002a-definitions

05-IB24: Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against Town of Dagsboro

Written on: August 18th, 2005 in 10002(a) Agenda

Complainant alleged that the Town violated FOIA by: (1) failing to notice in the agenda for a meeting that after executive session the Town Council would return to public session to vote on several matters of public business; (2) meeting in executive session to discuss matters of public business for purposes not authorized by law; and (3) denying access to the complete minutes of the executive session. Held: the Town violated the open meeting requirements of FOIA by: (1) meeting in executive session to discuss 5 matters of public business not authorized by law for private discussion; and (2) failing to notice in the meeting agenda that the Town Council would return to public session after the executive session to discuss and vote on 2 matters of public business. The Town also violated the public records requirements of FOIA by not providing requestor copies of the minutes of the executive session redacted only to exclude 2 personnel matters in which the Town Council discussed the abilities and competency of individual employees.


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10001-declarations

05-IB23: RE: F.O.I.A. Complaint Against Sussex County Council

Written on: August 15th, 2005 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

Complainant alleged that the County Council violated the FOIA open meeting requirements by: (1) adding two items to the agenda during a meeting; and (2) voting in executive session at that same meeting to approve a land acquisition. Held: although the Council met in executive session for a purpose authorized by FOIA—to discuss site acquisitions—the Council did violate FOIA when it added two items (executive session to discuss site acquisitions, and airport perimeter fence) to the agenda for the meeting at the start of the meeting because those matters did not arise at the meeting, and came to the attention of the County Administrator before the meeting. The Council could have amended the agenda to include those two new matters at least six hours in advance of the meeting.


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10001-declarations

05-IB19 Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against City of Wilmington

Written on: August 1st, 2005 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

Complainant alleges that the City violated the FOIA public records requirements by not providing: (1) “A copy of the Standard operating procedure (SOP) for the police department’s ‘F Squad”’; and (2) “Copies of all email communications generated since Nov. 1, 2004 regarding shootings, homicides, street violence or illegal drug sales sent to, written by, copied to, or forwarded to any of the several individuals. Held: the county did not violate FOIA. There are no written operating procedures, policies, or training guides specific to the F Squad; however, the County has a White Book, the index to which does not reveal any confidential law enforcement techniques or otherwise jeopardize officer safety and effective law enforcement, which may be responsive to the request. The County will make it available to assist the requestor in identifying other information requestor may request pursuant to FOIA. Further, County did not violate FOIA with respect to the email request because the Assistant City Solicitor represented, after verifying with the individuals named in your FOIA request, that they do not have any e-mails responsive to your request.


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10001-declarations

05-IB21: RE: F.O.I.A. Complaint Against Woodbridge School District

Written on: August 1st, 2005 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

Complainant alleges that the School District violated FOIA by holding a special meeting without explaining in the agenda why the School District could not give the normal 7 days notice. Held: the School District violated the open meeting requirements by not giving an explanation in the agenda for the special meeting why 7 days’ notice could not be given to the public. However, the School District has already cured that violation, by appropriately re-noticing a meeting.


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