19-IB08 2/18/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Richard Abbott re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
This Office was asked to determine whether DNREC properly applied the pending or potential litigation exemption in response to a request for records.
DECIDED: The records request should not have been denied in its entirety. Insofar as DNREC may have withheld any records which do not pertain to the pending case that were not otherwise exempt, DNREC would be in violation of FOIA.
19-IB07 2/15/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Doug Spelman and Mr. John Hurlock re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the City of Lewes
The Petitioner alleged that the public had insufficient notice about a zoning classification under consideration. This Office was asked to determine: 1) whether the agenda for the January 7, 2019 executive session adequately provided notice to the public; 2) whether the executive session was held for a proper purpose under FOIA; and 3) whether the agenda for the open session items adequately provided notice to the public of the matters for discussion.
DECIDED: The City has not violated FOIA by citing to its reason for the executive session in the January 7, 2019 meeting agenda. However, it was determined that the City violated FOIA by providing an insufficient agenda of the open session items and by failing to meet its burden to show that the executive session was for a proper purpose under 29 Del. C. § 10004(b)(4).
19-IB06 2/13/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Craig O'Donnell re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the New Castle County Police Department
This Office was asked to determine whether the New Castle County Police Department provided a timely response to the Petitioner’s FOIA request and whether the Police Department had provided sufficient assistance to the Petitioner in fulfilling their request.
DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found. NCCPD provided a response within the timeframes permitted by FOIA. There was no evidence that the Petitioner had requested further assistance or that the Police Department needed to clarify the request to locate the documents.
19-IB05 2/12/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Christopher Coggins re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Petitioner alleged that 1) DNREC improperly withheld records, as he did not state a request for records; and 2) DNREC improperly withheld records which were confidential legal advice.
DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found. FOIA does not require a public body to answer questions or compile information, and the requests for attorney client privileged and work product materials was appropriately denied.
19-IB04 2/11/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Ms. Jan Konesey and Mr. Sam Cooper re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the City of Rehoboth Beach
The Petitioners alleged that a wastewater working group established by the City of Rehoboth was meeting privately and without public notice.
DECIDED: The working group is a public body subject to the open meetings provisions of FOIA and therefore violated FOIA. This Office recommended the group meet publicly in accordance with FOIA’s open meeting requirements going forward and make existing minutes (if any) of past meetings available to the public. If meetings minutes do not exist but the meeting was recorded, the City is recommended to recreate those minutes and make them publicly available.
19-IB03 2/11/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Mustafa Musawwir re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Division of Corporations
The Petitioner alleged the Division of Corporation’s fees for certain business records violated FOIA by exceeding the fee scale outlined in FOIA.
DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found. A separate statute establishes the fees for the requested records and specifically exempts them from FOIA’s fee provisions.
19-IB02 2/11/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Ms. Christina Jedra re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the City of Wilmington
The Petitioner alleged that the City of Wilmington’s decision to use an outside vendor to perform the search and production of emails was unreasonable and that the fee estimate was unreasonably high.
DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found. The City presented affidavits supporting that the use of a vendor was reasonably required. Also, it was determined that the City adequately demonstrated that the outside vendor’s fee estimate did not violate FOIA.