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Delaware Department of Justice
Attorney General
Kathy Jennings

 Archived Posts From:  April 2005

05-IB11: Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against City of Dover

The Complainant alleged the City violated open meeting requirements by discussing pension plan investment strategy at a meeting of the City Council, but the agenda did not identify for that meeting. Held: the Council properly deferred any further discussion on the merits of the issue until it could be noticed to the public in accordance with FOIA after the matter of pension investment strategies was raised during the council member comment period of a meeting.

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05-IB10 Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against New Castle County Council

Complainant alleged the Council violated FOIA’s open meeting requirements by holding a special meeting without required notice (already addressed in 05-IB09) and by holding prior to that meeting a series of individual meetings with Council Members, with the expressed objective of garnering commitment for individual Council member votes, to remove the county auditor. Complainant did not provide the names of the individual Council members that allegedly met, or the date(s) or time(s) or places, or whether they allegedly met in person or electronically. The Council President in a sworn affidavit said he did not attempt to secure a consensus before the public meeting on the issue of the Auditor, and he was not solicited by a series of Council members for a particular vote prior to the public meeting. Held: Complainant failed to point to sufficient information to establish a prima facie showing that a meeting occurred, and no FOIA violation was found.

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05-IB09: RE: F.O.I.A. Complaint Against New Castle County Council

The Complainant alleged the Council violated the open meeting requirements of FOIA by holding a special meeting without required notice to the public. Council had properly noticed a regular meeting of the Council’s Executive Committee. More than 24 hours before that meeting, Council posted a notice and agenda for a special meeting. The agenda noted that it was not posted 7 days in advance of the scheduled meeting as a result of recent developments since the recent Audit Committee meeting. The agenda listed for discussion: “1. Call to order 2. Discussion of Confidential Personnel Matter 3. Other.” At noon, more than 6 hours in advance of that meeting, Council posted a revised agenda for the special meeting, that revised the second line item to read: “Discussion of Confidential Personnel Matter (County Auditor)”. According to the Council, this change was made “to clarify that the confidential personnel matter to be discussed involved the County Auditor.” Held: the special meeting did not violate FOIA because there was a valid reason for the meeting, and the agenda as originally posted was sufficient notice.

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05-IB08 RE: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against Brandywine School District

The Complainant alleged the School District violated the public records requirements of FOIA by not providing copies of requested documents and treating requestor differently than other citizens. Held: School District provided requestor with access to all 3,700 documents regarding Division I units 3,700 documents from which requestor could have obtained the statistics requested but was not required by FOIA to compile the data from those documents into the requested format. Further, School District followed its written policies on responding to requests for access to records and did not treat requestor differently from other citizens.

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