Written on: January 2nd, 1996 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
The Complainant alleged that the Mayor of Dewey Beach improperly refused to respond to a question from a Maryland resident during a public town meeting. The Maryland resident also filed a Freedom of Information request. The town of Dewey Beach responded to the request but also noted that it need not fulfill FOIA requests made by non-Delawareans. Held: Delaware’s FOIA is applicable only to “citizens of the State,” meaning citizens of the State of Delaware.
Written on: November 2nd, 1995 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
The Complainant alleged that the District failed to note on the meeting agenda that the agenda was subject to change or modification and, therefore, any modifications made to the agenda at the meeting were in violation of the Freedom of Information Act. Held: FOIA expressly provides that posted agendas are subject to change and modification, the agendas do not need to contain such language, and any modification to the agenda was not a violation of FOIA. Next, the Complainant alleged that Board members impermissibly gathered in the Superintendent’s office prior to the meeting. Held: there is no evidence that the board members discussed public business, therefore there is no violation. Next, the Complainant alleged that the Board attempted to discuss pending litigation during executive session even though it was not on the agenda. Held: the pending litigation was not actually discussed so the point is moot. Next, the Complainant alleged that the Board did not give proper notice of its intent to conduct interviews for principal during executive session. In this case, the agenda stated “Personnel” matters were to be discussed during executive session. Held: “Personnel” does not give adequate notice of the interviewing of a candidate, which would fit better into the Section 10004(b)(1) reason for executive sessions, therefore there was not adequate notice of the Board’s intent to hold executive session to conduct interviews. Finally, the Complainant alleged that the meeting’s record did not encompass the executive session discussions. Held: those records were provided and the point is moot.
Written on: September 27th, 1995 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
Civil Division – New Castle County September 27, 1995 Del. Op. Atty. Gen. 95-IB30 (Del.A.G.), 1995 WL 794497 (permitting the Director of the Division of Revenue, the state agency charged with administering and enforcing Delaware tax laws, to access Social Security numbers maintained by the Division of Motor Vehicles) Michael O. McCann Deputy Administrator Department […]
Written on: August 15th, 1995 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
Complainant alleged that New Castle County failed to respond to her request for records. The County indicated that it was preparing to respond to the request when the Complainant filed a pro se suit in Superior Court alleging, among other things, a violation of the Freedom of Information Act. Held: jurisdiction rests with Superior Court.
Written on: August 15th, 1995 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
The Complainant alleged that the Town Council of Georgetown violated the Freedom of Information Act when it did not include the eviction of the town Chamber of Commerce from the town hall on the June agenda but did vote on the matter as additional business. A special meeting was held two months later to vote on the eviction again, in compliance with FOIA, with the same vote. Held: although there was an initial violation, the subsequent meeting ratified the actions of the first meeting and made the matter moot.
Requestor sought an opinion on whether the Governor’s Council on Equal Employment Opportunity was permitted to meet privately with invited guests. The Council was established by Executive Order and its members were appointed by the Governor or the Human Relations Commission. It is not statutorily exempted from the Freedom of Information Act and is supported, at least in part, by public funds. Held: the Council on Equal Employment Opportunity is a Public Body as defined by FOIA and must abide by the open meeting requirements therefore, private meetings with invited guests are not permitted. However, the Council is permitted to go into Executive Session as permitted by statute.
Written on: June 7th, 1995 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
The Complainant alleged that the City of New Castle failed to respond to his request for documents. Complainant requested information on the status of public walkways taken for private use. Held: the description of the documents sought was not sufficient to allow the City to locate such records, the request lacked specificity and was not a permissible request and there was no violation of the Freedom of Information Act.
Written on: March 24th, 1995 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
The Complainant alleged a violation of the Freedom of Information Act’s open meeting requirements when the City of New Castle posted a revised agenda the day of a public meeting but did not provide a reason in the agenda for the delay. The open meeting was held to discuss a proposed ordinance. The City argued that an administrative oversight is not a substantive violation of FOIA. Held: failure to state a reason for delay in posting an agenda is a violation of FOIA. The city must issue a new ordinance in compliance with FOIA.
Written on: February 6th, 1995 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
The Complainant alleged that Woodbridge School District impermissibly charged her fees for the compiling of requested documents, in addition to the copying fees. The District had a regulation which allowed for charges for copying fees but did not specify additional charges for time employees spent satisfying the request. Held: Because the statute did not specifically allow for administrative fees, and the District did not follow its own regulations, Complainant was impermissibly charged. This decision was superseded by the August, 2012 amendments to the Delaware Freedom of Information Act which allows for reasonable administrative fees.
Written on: January 25th, 1995 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
The Requestor sought clarification on what information should be released pursuant to FOIA requests for sworn payroll records filed with the Delaware Department of Labor pursuant to prevailing wage law requirements. These records contain the name, address and Social Security number of each employee working on the public project, the employee’s work classification, total hours worked, rate of pay, amount earned, deductions, types of benefits provided and the cost of those benefits. Held: sworn payroll records must be released under FOIA but social security numbers of workers must be redacted in order to protect the personal privacy of the individuals. Note: this opinion was rescinded and superseded by Del. Op. Att’y Gen. 98-IB07 (1998).