21-IB04 3/1/2021 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Craig O’Donnell re: FOIA Complaint Concerning Delaware City
Petitioner alleged that Delaware City violated FOIA by improperly responding to FOIA requests for its community center financial records, its FOIA log, and request for a lease agreement, including the following: 1) ) whether the responses from the City to Petitioner’s Community Center requests were timely and responsive in terms of its level of detail; 2) whether the City violated FOIA by failing to maintain its FOIA log and by erroneously marking the Community Center requests on the log as closed; 3) whether the City’s response to Petitioner’s request for an agreement was untimely, incomplete, and improperly designated as complete on the FOIA log; 4) whether the City’s request to fill out a certain form violated FOIA; and 5) whether certain aspects of the City’s FOIA website were improper, including the FOIA Coordinator information, the availability of multiple request forms, and the .pdf form not being a “fillable” document.
DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found, but the City was reminded to properly maintain its FOIA log, to accept FOIA requests as provided by the FOIA statute, and to timely update its FOIA Coordinator information.Read More
21-IB03 2/25/2021 FOIA Opinion Letter to Ms. Brooke Schultz re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Sussex Technical School District Board of Education
Petitioner alleged that the Sussex Technical School District Board of Education did not give adequate notice on its agenda of its intent to appoint a superintendent.
DECIDED: The Board gave sufficient notice for discussing a job candidate’s qualifications in executive session by noting that “Personnel” would be discussed, but violated FOIA by not giving adequate notice of its intent to appoint a superintendent in open session. This Office recommended that the Board hold a new vote on the matter in a future meeting after providing more specific notice to the public.Read More
21-IB02 1/21/2021 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Warren Rosenkranz re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Village of Arden
Petitioner alleged that the Chair of the Town Assembly of the Village of Arden improperly denied him records and excluded him from discussions with the attorney related to the Village’s litigation. He argued that he was entitled to the records as a member of the Town Assembly.
DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found. The petitioner’s rights in regard to his membership in the Town Assembly is outside the scope of this Office’s authority to determine. The pending or potential litigation exemption is applicable to his request because the requested records pertain to the Village’s pending litigation.Read More
21-IB01 1/14/2021 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Anthony Dohring re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Delaware Department of Correction
Petitioner alleged that the Department of Correction failed to timely respond to his request and improperly denied his request for surveillance video and disciplinary hearing records.
DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found. The allegation of untimeliness was moot, and the requested records were determined to be exempt under sections 10002(l)(6) & (17) of FOIA.Read More
20-IB33 12/18/2020 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. William Paskey re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security
Petitioner alleged DSHS violated FOIA by not timely responding to his request for records. DSHS advised Petitioner on the date of his request that the request had been sent for legal review and DSHS would respond within 15 business days, but DSHS failed to do so and did not respond to Petitioner’s follow-up correspondence.
DECIDED: The petition was determined to be moot, as DSHS provided the requested records while the petition was pending. However, DSHS’s immediate citation of a need for legal advice and failure to respond until the petition was filed, despite the petitioner’s follow-up, violate the spirit of FOIA. DSHS was cautioned to invoke extensions for additional time to respond to requests only when needed and to timely communicate regarding requests in the future.Read More
20-IB32 12/14/2020 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Sam Chick re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Delaware Department of Transportation
Petitioner alleged DelDOT improperly withheld certain records because DelDOT’s produced records indicated an exchange of text messages on a private cell phone occurred and those text messages were not included with the production. In addition, Petitioner argued that DelDOT failed to provide any records related to the Office of the Governor.
DECIDED: As DelDOT’s counsel indicated no additional responsive records were located, no FOIA violation was found.Read More
20-IB31 12/11/2020 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Randall Chase re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Delaware Association of Professional Engineers
Petitioner alleged DAPE improperly planned to discuss financial data in executive session per its published agenda.
DECIDED: This Office accepted the representation that financial data was not discussed in executive session and its inclusion on the agenda was an error. This error was a technical violation of FOIA for which no remediation was necessary.Read More
20-IB30 12/7/2020 FOIA Opinion Letter to Ms. Amy McFalls re: FOIA Complaint Concerning New Castle County
Petitioner alleged that the New Castle County Division of Police improperly denied a request for a copy of an arrest warrant. In response, the County provided an affidavit of its FOIA Coordinator asserting that the County did not have the requested records within its possession or custody.
DECIDED: As the County demonstrated it had no responsive records, no FOIA violation was found.Read More
20-IB29 12/2/2020 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. John Young re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Christina School District Board of Education
Petitioner alleged that the Christina School District Board of Directors selected and negotiated terms of employment with a candidate for superintendent out of public view and a meeting’s agenda item, “Board Action on Superintendent Search,” was insufficient to meet the agenda items.
DECIDED: The Board violated FOIA by not noticing and preparing minutes of the meetings of the two Board members, who constituted a Board committee subject to FOIA. No FOIA violation was found relating to allegation about the agenda, because the agenda item provided adequate public notice of the Board’s action.Read More
20-IB28 11/9/2020 FOIA Opinion Letter to Councilmember Samuel Guy re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the City of Wilmington
Petitioner alleged that the Wilmington City Council President violated FOIA by notifying a councilmember of the revocation of their position without a public meeting, that City held a virtual public meeting and denied this councilmember meeting access codes and other items, and that FOIA does not permit a pre-emptive bar on a public body member’s participation in the public body’s meetings.
DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found.Read More