UPDATE: The following are two recent opinions of Judge Grasso on NJFOG and Paff v. Island Heights Board of Education…
Earlier this year, NJFOG filed a lawsuit in Ocean County Superior Court against the Island Heights Board of Education for multiple violations of the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA). (NJFOG and Paff v. Island Heights Board of Education)
We were victorious this spring with regard to the OPRA counts when Judge Grasso ruled that redactions to the Board’s executive session meeting minutes were overly broad and that insufficient reason was given for them. As a result, the minutes were substantially un-redacted.
A decision on the Meetings Act counts is expected on August 22nd in response to NJFOG’s motion for summary judgment. Outstanding OPMA issues concern the inappropriate discussion in executive session of topics that are public in nature and the use of general boiler plate language in executive session resolutions. Such resolutions should identify the specific matters to be discussed in the closed session.
What’s special about the Island Heights case is that it’s one of a limited number of Meetings Act cases brought in New Jersey. The absence of case law enforcing the OPMA — “affirmative litigation” — has resulted in a lack of compliance with the law statewide. NJFOG hopes to change that.