16-IB27 12/22/2016 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Frank Cannon re: FOIA Complaint Concerning City of Seaford
In May 2016, Petitioner alleged that the City had not given timely notice of their April 4, 2016 meeting. HELD: The City violated FOIA by providing five days’ public notice instead of the required seven.
In June 2016, the Petitioner alleged that the City’s Electric Committee failed to provide public notice of their May 16, 2016 meeting and the Economic Development Committee failed to post notice of their March 22, 2016 meeting. HELD: These committees are public bodies and these meetings were each attended by a quorum of members. Thus the City violated FOIA by not noticing these meetings. However, the City has agreed that future activities of these bodies will comply with FOIA.
In July 2016, Petitioner alleged that the City held meetings closed to the public between May 17, 2016 and June 14, 2016 in order to finalize and balance the fiscal year 2017 budget. HELD: There is insufficient evidence to support the allegation. No FOIA violation was found.
In November 2016, Petitioner alleged that the Electric Committee failed to publicly post or publish the minutes of its August 3, 2016 meeting and that sometime in the summer of 2016, the Council held meetings closed to the public. HELD: The City Council and the Electric Committee are required only to make minutes available to the public for review, which they were several days later. There is insufficient evidence to support the second allegation. Thus no FOIA violation was found in regard to either allegation.
16-IB26 12/13/2016 FOIA Opinion Letter to Rep. Paul Baumbach, Rep. John Kowalko, Jr., Rep. Ed Osienski, Sen. Karen Peterson, Sen. David Sokola, and Sen. Bryan Townsend re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the University of Delaware Board of Trustees
Petitioners alleged that the University of Delaware Board of Trustees (the “Board”) violated the open meetings provisions of FOIA by not adequately describing in the agenda for a May 17, 2016 meeting a bylaws change which the Board expected to discuss. HELD: The Board violated FOIA by failing to include proposed revisions to Article 3 of the University’s bylaws – a major issue expected to be discussed – in its agenda for its May 17, 2016 meeting. Because the Board has indicated an intent to reconsider the issue and ratify the vote at its December 13, 2016 meeting, the Department of Justice requests no further remediation. The Department of Justice nonetheless requests that the Board engage in meaningful public discussion on the matter prior to its December 13, 2016 vote.Read More
16-IB25 12/13/2016 FOIA Opinion Letter to Ms. Laura Nash and Ms. Jackie Hildebrand Kook re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Christina School District Board of Education
Petitioners alleged that the Christina School District Board of Education (the “Board”) had violated the open meetings provisions of FOIA by discussing items in executive session that are required to be publicly discussed. HELD: The Board violated FOIA by convening an executive session to discuss interview questions and next steps in the search process for the Christina School District Superintendent Position. To remediate this violation, the Department of Justice requests that the Board discuss the matters anew at its December 13, 2016 board meeting.discussed in executive session at the December 13, 2016 board meeting.Read More