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Delaware Department of Justice
Attorney General
Kathy Jennings

 Pages Tagged With: "quorum"

96-IB26: Re: Freedom of Information Complaint Sussex County Council

The Complainant alleged that a number of Sussex County Council members visited a manufactured housing facility in Pennsylvania, possibly in violation of the Freedom of Information Act. The Complainant alleged that a quorum of County Council members toured the facility. The Council stated that attendance was voluntary and a quorum was not present. Held: the group touring the facility was not a public body because they were not appointed as a committee by the Council, attendance was voluntary and there was no indication that any report or recommendation was made to the Council by the members who attended.

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96-IB05: FOIA-Town of Georgetown

The Complainant alleged that the Georgetown Town Council violated the Freedom of Information Act. Complainant alleged that the Council met daily in violation of FOIA and also submitted a memorandum for which there was no public record. The Council argued that there was no specificity as to their daily meetings and argued that the Memorandum was reviewed with separate council members but at no time was a quorum present warranting a public meeting that complied with the Act. Held: there was no evidence that the Council met daily in violation of the Act. However, the Memorandum was executed in violation of the Act. A public body may be subject to FOIA even if a quorum is not present, as was the case here where small groups met to discuss the memorandum. The fact that Council met in sub-groups to discuss, formulate and execute the November 27, 1995 memorandum suggests that the Council acted deliberately to circumvent the public notice, agenda and record keeping requirements of the Act.

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96-IB02: Freedom of Information Act regarding Newark City Council

The Complainant requested an investigation into three meetings the Newark City Council held with the University of Delaware. These meetings were not open to the public and no record was kept. Newark City Council argued that no quorum was present at any of the meetings and, therefore, the meetings were not those of a public body. Held: ad hoc committees are considered public bodies and the breakdown of council members into three groups is the formation of ad hoc committees. The formation of three ad hoc committees to meet with the same university staff to discuss essentially the same topics was a scheme to avoid compliance with FOIA.

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95-IB20: Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint 29 Del. C. § 10005(e)

The Complainant alleged that administrative-staff meetings held by the school district should be considered public meetings because school board members were present. The district argued that only two board members were now present at the meetings, not a quorum, and that those members were not appointed to a subcommittee or special ad hoc committee. Held: if the board members make any formal or informal, express or implied recommendations to the full Board based upon any action proposed at the administrative-staff meetings, they would be considered a subcommittee and subject to open meetings requirements. However, based upon current facts, there is no violation of the Freedom of Information Act.

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95-IB37: RE: Freedom of Information Act Complaint 29 Del. C. § 10005(e)

The Complainant alleged that the “breakfast meetings” described in AG Opinion 95-IB04 continued to be held. A discussion of suggestions for betterment of the school system is considered public business. Because a quorum of the Board was present, the breakfast meetings should be considered public meetings within the meaning of the statute. Counsel for the school board noted that the board will not hold breakfast meetings any more but, if they do, a quorum will not be present. Held: if a quorum of a subcommittee is present and makes recommendations to the full board, it is considered a public body under the Freedom of Information Act and must abide by open meeting requirements.

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