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Delaware Department of Justice
Attorney General
Kathy Jennings




 Archived Posts From:  November 2019

19-IB66 11/26/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Richard Stifter re: FOIA Complaint Concerning The City of Wilmington

PRINT VERSION: Attorney General Opinion No. 19-IB66 OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE Attorney General Opinion No. 19-IB66 November 26, 2019   VIA EMAIL Mr. Richard Stifter The Claims Center P.O. Box 47604 Plymouth, MN 55447 Richard.stifter@theclaimscenter.com   RE:     FOIA Petition Regarding the City of Wilmington   Dear Mr. Stifter: […]

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19-IB65 11/25/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Ms. Stephanie Lynch re: FOIA Complaint Concerning Sussex County

Petitioner alleged Sussex County improperly denied her FOIA requests. The County provided a cost estimate for certain records, and the Petitioner also alleged that the County improperly denied her request to reduce the cost estimate by the value of the time employees performing the search had spent on personal internet usage in a time period prior to the search.

DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found. The records requested related to pending or potential litigation, and no error was found in the County’s denial of the Petitioner’s request to subtract employees’ personal internet time from the costs estimated to fulfill the Petitioner’s request.

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19-IB64 11/12/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Ms. Kathryn Gifford re: FOIA Complaints Concerning The Christina School District

Petitioner alleged that the Christina School District Board’s October 8, 2019 vote by secret ballot to fill a vacancy violated FOIA’s open meeting requirements; that the Board must have improperly made the decision to conduct the vote by that method in executive session; and that the Board must have improperly decided on candidate interview questions outside of a public meeting.

DECIDED: In Attorney General Opinion No. 19-IB63, this Office found that the District violated FOIA with respect to the secret ballot process and the executive session at the October 8, 2019 meeting. With regard to the allegations regarding the interview format and questions, this Office accepted the representations of the Board’s attorney and found no additional FOIA violations.

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19-IB63 11/8/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. John Young re: FOIA Complaints Concerning The Christina School District

Petitioner alleged that the Christina School District Board’s October 8, 2019 vote by secret ballot to fill a vacancy violated FOIA’s open meeting requirements and that the Board must have improperly made the decision to conduct the vote by that method in executive session.

DECIDED: This Office determined that there were two violations of FOIA. A secret ballot violates FOIA’s open meeting requirements. This Office also found that the Board provided no factual allegations upon which to determine whether a discussion of voting procedures actually occurred during the executive session or if the executive session was held for a proper purpose. Thus, the Board failed to meet its burden of justifying the October 8, 2019 executive session.

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19-IB62 11/6/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Xerxes Wilson re: FOIA Complaint Concerning The City of Wilmington

Petitioner alleged that the City of Wilmington improperly denied their request for records of activations of the City’s gunshot detection system, ShotSpotter, by citing the exemptions for investigatory and intelligence files when the City had previously provided them and on occasion publicizes the information. The City responded that they began using such records for investigative purposes in April 2017.

DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found for asserting the investigatory file exemption for the requested records after April 2017, but this Office recommended the City review its records and provide a supplemental response for records generated before that time and for records used to publicize sets of the data requested.

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19-IB61 11/5/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Xerxes Wilson re: FOIA Complaint Concerning The Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security

Petitioner alleged that DSHS improperly denied their request for documents regarding expenditures of public funds on Newport police officers by citing the exemptions for investigatory files, criminal history records, and records pertaining to pending or potential litigation.

DECIDED: Based on the record presented to this Office, DSHS did not meet its burden to justify the denial of those records. This Office recommended that DSHS respond to the request in compliance with FOIA within 15 business days of this Opinion.

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