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Delaware Department of Justice
Attorney General
Kathy Jennings

 Archived Posts From:  September 1997

97-IB18: FOIA Complaint Against the Town of Bridgeville

Complainant alleged that the Town of Bridgeville violated FOIA’s open meetings requirements because it did not post a notice of a meeting at least 7 days prior to the meeting. Town replied that under the circumstances, only 24 hours notice was required. HELD: FOIA permits emergency meetings only when necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety. An employment dispute between a police officer and the Town does not rise to the level of an emergency necessary to obviate the notice requirements of FOIA. Thus, Town violated FOIA by failing to explain in the notice why seven days’ notice could not be given. No remedial action necessary though with respect to the personnel matters. The Town met to decide whether to ask the AG’s office to investigate the employee’s complaint and the AG’s office had already decided not to conduct the requested investigation. The meeting must be renoticed to allow the public to observe the Town’s discussion of all other public business.

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