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Delaware Department of Justice
Attorney General
Kathy Jennings


Attorney General's Opinions




02-IB23: FOIA Complaint Against Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission

Date Posted: Tuesday, October 1st, 2002

The Complainant alleged that Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission (“the Commission”) violated FOIA by not providing you with “copies of the revised draft [Comprehensive Plan Update]” in violation of the public record requirements of FOIA. You also allege that the Commission violated the public notice requirements of Title 9 of the Delaware Code in connection with special meetings of the Commission on September 11 and 19, 2002. Held: the Commission made these public records reasonably accessible to citizens as required by FOIA. The Commission noticed each of its meetings on August 29, September 9, and September 11, 2002 at least seven days in advance as required by FOIA.

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02-IB23: FOIA Complaint Against Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission

Date Posted: Tuesday, October 1st, 2002

The Complainant alleged that Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission (“the Commission”) violated FOIA by not providing you with “copies of the revised draft [Comprehensive Plan Update]” in violation of the public record requirements of FOIA. You also allege that the Commission violated the public notice requirements of Title 9 of the Delaware Code in connection with special meetings of the Commission on September 11 and 19, 2002. Held: the Commission made these public records reasonably accessible to citizens as required by FOIA. The Commission noticed each of its meetings on August 29, September 9, and September 11, 2002 at least seven days in advance as required by FOIA.

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02-IB22: FOIA Complaints Against New Castle County and New Castle County Council

Date Posted: Friday, September 13th, 2002

The Complainant alleged that: (1) the New Castle County Executive and the County Council met on July 11, 2002 without adequate notice to the public, and that they discussed matters of public business not specified in the notice; and (2) that the Executive Committee of the County Council met on July 16, 2002 without timely notice to the public, and in that meeting discussed matters beyond those listed in the agenda. Held: the County Executive and the Council did not violate the open meeting requirements of FOIA with respect to the July 11, 2002 joint meeting, and that the Council’s Executive Committee did not violate the open meeting requirements of FOIA with respect to its July 16, 2002 meeting.

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02-IB21: FOIA Complaints Against Town of Fenwick Island

Date Posted: Friday, August 30th, 2002

Complainant alleged that the Town of Fenwick Island (“the Town”) violated FOIA by failing to remediate previous FOIA violations. Held: the Town did not violate the open meeting requirements of FOIA at the June 28, 2002 meeting, and that the Town has satisfied our directives to remediate the FOIA violations that occurred at meetings earlier this year.

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02-IB18 Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against Town of Laurel

Date Posted: Monday, August 19th, 2002

The Complainant alleged that the Town of Laurel (“the Town”) violated FOIA by not providing access to public records he requested. Specifically, he alleged that by letter dated July 12, 2002 he asked for but did not receive a copy of “an annexation report” and the Town’s “2002 Comprehensive Development Plan.” Held: the Town did not violate the public records requirements of FOIA because it provided Complainant with a copy of the annexation report on August 6, 2002.

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02-IB19 Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against Joint School Boards of New Castle County

Date Posted: Monday, August 19th, 2002

The Complainant alleged that the joint school boards of New Castle County (“Joint Board”) “consists of representatives of each of the public school boards in New Castle County” and that it is a public body covered by FOIA because it “functions on public funds and does, at least indirectly, influence public policy.” Held: the Joint Board is a “public body” for purposes of FOIA and subject to all of the requirements of the open meeting laws. The school boards were directed to notice these meetings to the public in the future in the same manner as they would a meeting of the individual school board under FOIA and to maintain minutes of the joint meetings.

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02-IB17 Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against Capital School District Board of Education

Date Posted: Tuesday, August 6th, 2002

The Complainant alleged that the Capital School District Board of Education (“the Board”) violated FOIA by: (1) not providing access to public records you requested; and (2) meeting to interview applicants for a new superintendent without notice to the public. Held: the School Board did not violate the public records requirements of FOIA but the School Board violated the open meeting requirements of FOIA by: (1) meeting in executive sessions on October 2 and 17, 2002 for a purpose not authorized by statute; (2) meeting in executive sessions on March 2 and 6, 2002 for a purpose not authorized by statute; (3) by meeting on March 8, 9, and 10, 2002 without posting public notices and agendas and without maintaining minutes of those meetings; (4) meeting in executive session on April 11, 2002 for a purpose not authorized by statute; and (5) meeting in executive session on April 16, 2002 for a purpose not authorized by statute.

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02-IB16 Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against New Castle County

Date Posted: Tuesday, July 30th, 2002

The Complainant alleged that New Castle County (“the County”) violated FOIA by not providing a letter of engagement between the County and the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis. Held: Based on an in camera review of the documents, each of them is exempt from disclosure under FOIA either by attorney-client privilege or work product immunity.

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02-IB12: Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against Fenwick Island Town Council

Date Posted: Tuesday, May 21st, 2002

Complainant alleged that the Town of Fenwick Island (“the Town”) violated FOIA by: (1) failing to give the public notice of its intent to go into executive session at a meeting on February 8, 2002; (2) improperly entering into executive session at that meeting to discuss pay raises for police officers; (3) failing to give adequate notice to the public that it would go into executive session at a meeting on February 22, 2002; (4) improperly entering into executive session at that meeting to discuss police department problems; (5) failing to give adequate notice to the public of its intent to go into executive session at a meeting on March 16, 2002; (6) impermissibly entering into executive session at that meeting to discuss personnel and legal problems involving the police department; and (7) not providing you with copies of the minutes of executive sessions. Held: the Council violated the open meeting requirements of FOIA when it went into executive session to discuss matters of public business at its meetings on February 8, February 22, and March 16, 2002. The Council violated the agenda requirements of FOIA by amending the agenda just prior to the meeting on March 16, 2002, and without stating the reason for the delay. Finally, the Council violated the public records requirements of FOIA by denying access to the minutes of executive sessions which were not authorized by law.

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02-IB10: FOIA Complaint Against Christina School District

Date Posted: Wednesday, April 24th, 2002

The Complainant alleged that the Christina School District (“the District”) violated FOIA by not providing reasonable access to public records. Specifically, the School District did not provide accounting and other information requested, and the School District’s procedures for processing FOIA requests are “designed to impede the public’s access to documents.” Held: the School District must make available for inspection and copying any rulings or decisions or orders by an administrative body issued during the years 1999, 2000, and 2001 which require the School District to expend monies. Also, in order to charge for the costs of retrieving computerized data, the School District must amend its written rules and regulations to provide for a reasonable schedule of costs. In all other respects, we determine that the School District did not violate the public records requirements of FOIA.

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