A new lawsuit was filed yesterday in Camden County Superior Court that seeks answers to the following questions:
- How promptly must a public body publicly disclose the nonexempt portions of its nonpublic (i.e. "closed or executive") meeting minutes?
- Can a public body validly claim that it must first "approve" its nonpublic meeting minutes prior to publicly disclosing even redacted versions of them?
- Must a public body pass a separate, free-standing resolution in order to authorize a nonpublic session (as required by N.J.S.A. 10:4-13) or is it sufficient for it to pass a motion, which is recorded in the regular meeting minutes?
- In its N.J.S.A. 10:4-13 motions or resolutions, how specifically must a public body describe the topics it plans to discuss during its nonpublic meetings?
- In its N.J.S.A. 10:4-13 motions or resolutions, how precisely must a public body state the time when and the circumstances under which the discussion conducted in nonpublic session can be disclosed to the public?
The lawsuit is the joint effort of Camden resident Jose Delgado and me. We're seeking a court order that will bring some clarity to these questions. We plan on bringing the suit's result to the attention of every public body in Camden County. This, we hope, will help establish a legal standard that all those bodies will follow.
John Paff, Chairman
New Jersey Libertarian Party's
Open Government Advocacy Project