Written on: November 3rd, 2014 in State Employees
The Office of Management and Budget sought advice on whether Delaware National Guard (DNG) Fire Fighters are covered only by federal rather than state collective bargaining law and if covered by state law, whether their rights were limited by 20 Del. C. § 185, which requires DNG employees to be governed by the rules and regulations, including pay scale, applicable to the federal military technician program. Held: DNG Fire Fighters who have been certified as a collective bargaining unit by the State of Delaware Public Employment Relations Board may legitimately avail themselves of the State of Delaware’s collective bargaining laws to determine their collective bargaining rights, but those rights are controlled and limited by 20 Del. C. § 185.
Written on: August 27th, 2014 in 10001 Declaration of Policy, 10002(l) (1) Exemptions - Personnel, 10002(l) (6) Exemptions - Records Exempted Per Statute or Common Law
The Complainant alleged the Delaware Department of Education (“DDOE”) provided an incomplete response to his request for documents. DDOE admitted it had withheld certain documents pursuant to applicable privacy statutes and regulations. Held: applicable State and federal statutes and regulations prohibit the release of records that could be identified to an individual student. Applying the standards set by the U.S. Department of Education, the requested documents are not “public records,” so DDOE cannot produce them.
Written on: July 18th, 2014 in 10001 Declaration of Policy, 10002(l) (1) Exemptions - Personnel, 10002(l) (2) Exemptions - Trade Secrets, 10002(l) (3) Exemptions - Investigatory Files, 10002(l) (4) Exemptions - Criminal Files and Criminal Records, 10002(l) (6) Exemptions - Records Exempted Per Statute or Common Law, 10002(l) (9) Exemptions - Pending or Potential Litigation
The Complainant alleged the Department of Technology and Information (“DTI”) improperly withheld information regarding assessments for the Delaware Broadband Fund (the “Fund”). DTI withheld the assessments of three carriers at their request because the carriers alleged the assessments constituted “trade secrets” or “commercial financial information” that would constitute a threat to their respective competitive positions. Held: information withheld should have been produced. There was no apparent threat of competitive harm, given the voluntary release of assessment information to the Complainant by dozens of competitors.
The Complainant alleged the Board of Adjustment of the City of Newark (“Board”) held an “open meeting” in violation of the Freedom of information Act (“FOIA”) because it failed to provide a facility for a hearing that was large enough to accommodate all who wished to attend. The meeting had been moved to the auditorium at Newark High School. Held: the size of the venue chosen was “reasonable.” Public comment was not allowed or required in any event.
The Complainant alleged the Delaware Transit Corporation (“DTC”) improperly refused to provide copies of contracts between Gateway Outdoor Advertising (“Gateway”) and various entities that purchased advertising space on DTC buses. Gateway contracts with DTC to sell bus advertising. Held: DTC’s rights and powers under its contract with Gateway were not sufficient to make the contracts with advertisers “public records.”
The Complainant alleged the Town Council of Frankford (the “Council”) conducted an “open meeting” in violation of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) on the basis of the absence of discussion of a proposed charter amendment eliminating a cap of fifteen percent of payroll on pension and health care benefits for town employees. The Town had continuously exceeded the cap for years, a fact that was discussed at least twice at public meetings attended by the Complainant. The proposed amendment simply eliminated the cap. Held: in the absence of evidence of a meeting of a quorum of the Council, serially or otherwise, there was no basis to conclude a violation of FOIA’s “open meetings” provision occurred.