Friday, June 26, 2009

Court Ruling about timely access to executive meeting minutes, Look Out Edgewater Park!

Sent: Friday, June 26, 2009 10:46:23 AM
Subject: Fwd: Favorable outcome in Paff v. Port Republic

Jun 26, 2009 02:08:40 PM, wrote:

During a thirty-minute hearing today, June 26, 2009, Atlantic County Assignment Judge Steven P. Perskie ruled that the City of Port Republic did not abide by the Open Public Meetings Act when it failed to issue even redacted versions of its January 2008 closed session minutes when I requested them in August 2008.

The vast bulk of the discussion during the hearing was between Judge Perskie and Port Republic's attorney, Salvatore Perillo, Esq. (who also serves as the Mayor of Ocean City, New Jersey). I needed to say very little.

Judge Perskie became somewhat exasperated when Mr. Perillo didn't or wouldn't understand the precise issue that was before the court. Mr. Perillo kept arguing that the fact that the Clerk had promptly sent me a resolution identifying the topics discussed during executive session provided me with sufficient information and that I had no real need for the redacted minutes themselves. Judge Perskie correctly stated that the issue was whether the OPMA requires timely
access to executive meeting minutes even if those minutes need to be heavily redacted to protect legitimate governmental objectives.

After Mr. Perillo's pressed the same irrelevant argument several times, Judge Perskie asked "which one of us is Abbott and which is Costello?"

The judge appeared inclined to sign the form of order that I had submitted with my cross motion. He also said that Port Republic is to reimburse me my cost of suit. The motion paperwork is on-line here:

John Paff
Somerset, New Jersey

If the Edgewater Park Clerk doesn't provide copies of the excutive meeting minutes in a timely mannor, you can file a complaint and should also contact John Paff with the particulars and copies of your request and the reasions it was rejected by the Clerk and he will advise you on how to file this complaint. The Edgewater Park Township Clerk has not made any 2007/2008/2009 excutive meeting minutes available to the public at any of the township public meetings this year or for years 2007/2008. The statement she reads before the Township Committee goes into Excutive Session, states that the minutes will be available when the reason for confidantiality is no longer necessary. This action and statement by the Township Clerk is not complying with the NJ law and findings by recent court cases.

The Edgewater Park Reporter

1 comment:

Car 54 said...

Was there an election today in Beverly because 4 State Police cars came roaring down Warren St and turned down Broad St towards the New Polling Place you know the Beverly Housing Office around 1PM today. I was just wondering if they were providing security or voting.