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: October 24th, 1995 in 10002(l) (1) Exemptions - Personnel
The Complainant alleged that the school district impermissibly withheld documents regarding the status of a teacher and what was being done to address problems with that teacher. The District replied that they had provided all the public documents they had, had conducted meetings regarding the teacher and had no more information to provide. Held: the District has fulfilled its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act and there is no violation.
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.
The Complainant alleged that administrative-staff meetings held by the school district should be considered public meetings because school board members were present. The district argued that only two board members were now present at the meetings, not a quorum, and that those members were not appointed to a subcommittee or special ad hoc committee. Held: if the board members make any formal or informal, express or implied recommendations to the full Board based upon any action proposed at the administrative-staff meetings, they would be considered a subcommittee and subject to open meetings requirements. However, based upon current facts, there is no violation of the Freedom of Information Act.
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: March 20th, 1995 in 10002(l) (1) Exemptions - Personnel
The Complainant alleged that Seaford, Indian River, Laurel, Woodbridge and Milford School Districts improperly refused to provide the names and salaries of all district teachers. The districts provided the salaries, but not names, of the teachers. Held: there is no statutory exemption that prevents the disclosure of public school districts’ teachers’ names and salaries.