In response to a letter from the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project, the Borough of Elmer (Salem County) has agreed to make itself more transparent.

First, the Borough has placed its Open Public Records Act request form on its Internet site.  Previously, the only way to get the request form was to request it from the Borough Clerk.  This could inconvenience the public and delay citizens' requests.

Second, the Borough Council has agreed, going forward, to more precisely describe the topics that it will privately discuss in closed or executive session.  For instance, instead of informing the public that it's going to privately discuss "litigation," the Borough Council will now inform the public that it's going to privately discuss "Smith v. Borough, Docket No. SAL-L-1933-08." 

Third, the Borough Council will, going forward, ensure that the minutes of its closed or executive sessions include the time of the meeting, the Council members present and the signatures of the proper municipal officials.

Two areas are, however, still in dispute: a) whether it was proper for the Borough Council to have went into private session on November 7, 2007 to discuss the "Replacement of Councilman Sternberger procedure," and b) whether or not the executive session minutes which state, in their entirety, that the Council discussed the "Replacement of Councilman Sternberger procedure," complies with N.J.S.A. 10:4-14's requirement that meeting minutes be "reasonably comprehensible."

The Libertarian Party's letter to Elmer, the November 7, 2007 executive session resolution and minutes,  and the lawyer's reply are on-line at http://www.lpcnj.org/OGTF/Elmer.pdf

John Paff
Somerset, New Jersey

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