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Attorney General's Opinions


Attorney General Matt Denn


          

  Archived Posts From: 2007

07-IB06 05/10/07 FOIA Opinion Letter to Ms. Kough re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Town of Bethel

Written on: May 10th, 2007 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

The Complainant alleged the Town Council of Bethel (the “Council”) violated the “open meetings” provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) by not providing timely notice of a “special meeting.” Held: the Council complied with FOIA by giving the public at least twenty-four hours’ notice of the “special meeting” because there was a compelling reason to give less than seven days’ notice of the meeting. The Council violated FOIA by not including in the notice for the “special meeting” a brief explanation why the Council could not give seven days’ notice.


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07-IB12 RE: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against Delaware State University

Written on: May 10th, 2007 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

The Complainant alleged Delaware State University (“DSU”) violated the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) by not providing payroll documents for two DSU employees paid with “restricted funds.” Held: The requested payroll information was not a public record under FOIA because that information related to the expenditure of “restricted funds,” rather than public funds.


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07-IB13RE: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against Delaware State University

Written on: May 10th, 2007 in 10002(g) Meeting

The Complainant alleged the Board of Trustees of Delaware State University (“the Board of Trustees”) violated the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) by not providing the Complainant with a copy of the agenda and minutes for a “retreat” held in Phoenix, Arizona. Held: The Board did not hold a “meeting,” as defined by FOIA, at the national conference in Phoenix, to discuss any matter of public business specific to Delaware State University. Since there was no “meeting” for purposes of FOIA, the Board was not required to notice the conference to the public or prepare minutes. The Board did not violate the public record requirements of FOIA by denying the Complainant access to the agenda and minutes because FOIA did not require the Board to post an agenda or prepare minutes.


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07-IB09: RE: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against Town of Bethel

Written on: May 10th, 2007 in 10002(g) Meeting

The Complainant alleged the Elections Committee of the Town of Bethel (the “Committee”) violated the “open meetings” provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) by twice meeting with less than seven days’ notice to the public as required by FOIA. Held: (a) that FOIA authorized the Committee to post the notice of a “special meeting” three days in advance – rather than the normal seven days required by FOIA – because the Committee had a compelling reason to do so; (b) the Committee violated FOIA by not explaining in the notice for the “special meeting” why the Committee could not give seven days’ notice to the public; and (c) the Committee did not violate FOIA by posting the notice for an intended second “special meeting” meeting one day in advance because a quorum of the Committee did not meet, so FOIA did not apply.


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07-IB08: RE: Freedom of Information Act Complaints Against Town of Bethel

Written on: May 10th, 2007 in 10002(a) Agenda10002(g) Meeting

The Complainant alleged the Town Council of Bethel (the “Council”) violated the “open meetings” provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) as follows: (a) the agenda for the Town’s September 5, 2006 meeting did not adequately notify the public that the Town would discuss discontinuing its Comprehensive Plan and disbanding the Planning Commission; (b) the Town decided to re-schedule its November 7, 2006 meeting until November 9, 2006 without meeting in public; (c) the agenda for the November 9, 2006 meeting did not notify the public that the Town would consider a subdivision application; (d) the Town re-noticed its January 2, 2007 meeting to January 9, 2007 without prior notice to the public; (e) a quorum of the Council met privately without notice to the public on February 12, 2007 to discuss a matter of public business (voter eligibility for the upcoming Town election on February 24, 2007); (f) the Council did not give timely notice to the public of a “special emergency” meeting held on February 14, 2007; (g) the Council did not honor the Complainant’s request to be placed on the agenda for the March 6, 2007 meeting to discuss the application of Robert’s Rules of Order; and (h) on several occasions the Council did not post notices for its meetings at its principal place of business or the place where the Council regularly holds its meetings. Held: (a) the Council violated FOIA by not posting the notices and agendas for its meetings held on November 9 and December 5, 2007 and on January 9, February 6 and March 13, 2007 at the place where the Council’s meetings are regularly held; (b) the Council violated FOIA by not adequately informing the public in the agenda for its September 5, 2006 meeting that the Council would discuss discontinuing the Comprehensive Plan and disbanding the Planning Commission; and (c) the remainder of the alleged FOIA violations by the Council were not supported by the record.


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