Written on: February 13th, 2018 in 10001 Declaration of Policy
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE
Attorney General Opinion No. 18-IB09
February 12, 2018
VIA U.S. MAIL AND EMAIL
RE: FOIA Correspondence Regarding the Town of Dewey Beach
Dear Mr. O’Donnell and Ms. Marvel:
We write regarding your correspondence alleging that the Town of Dewey Beach (“Town”) violated the Delaware Freedom of Information Act, 29 Del. C. §§ 10001-10007 (“FOIA”). We treat your correspondence as a petition for a determination pursuant to 29 Del. C. § 10005(e) regarding whether a violation of FOIA has occurred or is about to occur (“Petition”). As set forth more fully below, it is our determination that the Town did not violate FOIA as alleged.
In your Petition, you allege that the Town violated FOIA by failing to provide sufficient detail in its agendas for its February 2, 2018 and February 9, 2018 executive sessions. Bay way of background, the agenda for the February 2, 2018 meeting noticed an executive session “[p]ursuant to 29 Del. C. §10004(b)(9) discussion of Town personnel matters regarding terms and conditions of employment contracts.” The agenda for the February 9, 2018 meeting noticed an executive session as follows:
To support your argument, you reference a public statement that the Mayor had made regarding meeting about the Dewey Beach Police Department’s participation in a federal program and email correspondence wherein the Mayor stated that the discussion would occur in executive session. You state that, because of the lack of additional specificity in the agendas, “[t]he Dover Post was unable to determine whether the meeting of Feb. 2 or Feb. 9 concerned the police department.” You state that you were able to determine through an exchange of emails that the February 2, 2018 meeting concerned the town manager search, but that “[t]he actual topic(s) of the Feb. 9 meeting are unknown . . . .” Due to your difficulty in determining the exact nature of the executive session discussions, you allege that the “agendas are defective and do not comply with FOIA.” Specifically, you allege: “Based on the statutory language itself, an agenda that merely quotes statutory exceptions claimed for an executive session is not, in fact, a legal agenda . . . .” We disagree.
As we have previously noted, “[t]he Delaware Court of Chancery has specifically held that a public body’s use of the language ‘Personnel & Legal Issues’ satisfies FOIA’s notice requirements” with respect to executive session. The Court stated:
Although more precise reasons could have been offered by the Council and the Planning Commission, the reasons they did articulate on the agendas satisfy the FOIA. The statute requires public bodies to provide the reason for entering into an executive session, but that does not require public bodies to elaborate in great detail on the agendas what legal, personnel, or other subjects are to be discussed. Therefore, the Court concludes that there is no triable issue of fact regarding the sufficiency of the state reasons for the executive sessions.
The Court of Chancery has already concluded that simply specifying “personnel and legal” satisfies FOIA’s minimum notice requirements. Here, we find that the Town’s agendas at issue meet the minimum notice requirements of the statute. Accordingly, it is our determination that the Town did not violate FOIA.
Very truly yours,
/s/ Michelle E. Whalen
Michelle E. Whalen
Deputy Attorney General
/s/ Allison E. Reardon
Allison E. Reardon
Fred A. Townsend, III, Esq. (via email)
 Petition at 2.
 Id. at 4.
 Petition at 4.
 Id. at 5.
 See Del. Op. Att’y Gen. 17-IB31, 2017 WL 3426271, at *2 (July 24, 2017) (citing O’Neill v. Town of Middletown, 2007 WL 2752981, at *7 (Del. Ch. Mar. 29, 2007)); see also Del. Op. Att’y Gen. 05-IB26, 2005 WL 3991284, at *7 (concluding that public body’s use of the language “Executive Session (Personnel & Legal Issues)” did not violate FOIA’s notice requirements).
 O’Neill v. Town of Middletown, 2007 WL 2752981, at *7 (internal citation omitted).