New Jersey Libertarian Party Open Government Advocacy Project: Monroe Township loses $4 records case
On January 25, 2011,the Government Records Council held that Monroe Township (Middlesex County) violated the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) by overcharging a records requestor by $4.00. The GRC found that Monroe improperly charged the requestor the fee for police accident reports even though the requestor had asked for police Internal Affairs records.
The GRC's decision is on-line here.
The decision indicates that the Township had the law firm of Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello, P.C. defend it in this GRC case. The Township defense, which is set forth in pages 3 to 6 of attached, appears to have been comprehensive and vigorous. It is questionable, however, whether it was sensible for the Township to pay for such a vigorous defense when all that was at stake in the matter was four dollars.
Accordingly, I have submitted an OPRA request (also at the link above) to learn how much of its taxpayers' money Monroe spent on this case. I will post the Township's response on this forum.
The next issue for the GRC to decide--probably in a month or two--is whether the requestor's attorney fees should be paid by the Township taxpayers. This, of course, will be in addition to the amount the Township paid its own lawyer.
John Paff, Chair
New Jersey Libertarian Party's
Open Government Advocacy Project