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Open Government Advocacy Project:
Commercial Township Legal Bills Online
 

Issue Detail:

 
I chair the New Jersey Libertarian Party\'s Open Government Advocacy Project which works to make government agencies--especially local and county government agencies--more transparent and accountable to the public. One way to find out what your municipal government is doing is to submit an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request for the municipal attorney\'s legal services invoices. I submitted such a request to Township Clerk Hannah E. Nichols and received the responsive documents today. As a public service, I\'ve uploaded the invoices to the Internet at the following link: At the link is the Township\'s legal services contract with Thomas E. Seeley\'s law office and that office\'s billings for services performed between January 1, 2011 and September 29, 2011. The documents show that Mr. Seeley has billed the Township for $54,688.58 for services and related costs during that period. He makes $150 per hour and charges the Township 30c for each photocopy his office makes and $1 for each page his office faxes. (Note: Separate from the $54,688.50 and not included in the file on-line is a $10,000 invoice dated October 21, 2011 for the firm\'s tax foreclosure work.) The bills also identify litigation that the Township is involved in. For example, a June 30, 2011 entry references a lawsuit captioned Brad Wolfe v. Township of Commercial. And, another June 30, 2011 entry refers to \"copies of Complaint against Cogdill and Allen for burglary of Commercial Township Convenience Center.\" Interested citizens could learn more about these lawsuits by submitting an OPRA request to Clerk Nichols. OPRA requests can be submitted by e-mail to hnichols@commercialtwp.com Just put \"OPRA request\" in the subject line and put \"Please accept this e-mail as my request for government records in accordance with the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and the common law right of access\" as the first line in the e-mail\'s body. Then, provide a list of the records that you would like copies of. For example, you could ask for \"the Complaint against Cogdill and Allen for burglary of Commercial Township Convenience Center\" that is referenced in a 06/30/11 entry in the Seeley Law firm\'s legal services invoice.\" We hope that readers find this information helpful. Sincerely, John Paff, Chairman New Jersey Libertarian Party\'s Open Government Advocacy Project www.njlp.org paff@pobox.com November 15, 2011

 

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New Jersey Libertarian Party Open Government Advocacy Project: Commercial Township Legal Bills Online. November 16, 2011.
URL: http://ogtf.lpcnj.org/2011319Oi/
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