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Delaware Department of Justice
Attorney General
Kathy Jennings

 Archived Posts From:  June 2001

01-IB10: Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaints Against Sussex County Council

The Complainant alleged that the Sussex County Council violated the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) by (i) giving inadequate notice of a public “workshop” to discuss hurricane evacuation strategies and beach traffic; and (ii) giving inadequate notice of its consideration of the issuance of $4.5 million in bonds at committee and council meetings. Held: With respect to the “workshop,” the Attorney General rejected the council’s contention that it did not need to provide notice because no formal action was taken at the meeting. Fact gathering and discussion meetings such as the one at issue fall squarely within the open meeting requirements of FOIA. Given the nature of the meeting, however, no remediation was required for this violation. As for the committee and council meetings, the Attorney General found that the agenda item indicating that an application by a specific company would be considered at the meeting was insufficient notice when the nature of the application – a request for the issuance of $4.5 million in industrial revenue bonds – was not described at all. As a remedial measure, the Attorney General ordered the application process to start again, from the beginning, with a duly noticed meeting.

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