Thursday, August 14, 2014

School board's reason why secrecy is necessary is itself secret.

I am accustomed to public bodies claiming that their executive session minutes are confidential.  It is not so typical, however, for the public body's reasons for wanting to keep its executive minutes secret to also be kept secret.  Not knowing a public body's reason for keeping a document secret makes it very difficult to challenge its claim of confidentiality.

On May 13, 2014, Passaic County Superior Court Judge Ralph L. DeLuccia told the Clifton Board of Education to provide him with some additional information so that he could decide whether or not certain portions of the Board's June 19, 2013 executive session meeting minutes should or should not be disclosed to the public.  So, the attorney for the school board, Donald K. Okner, wrote up a certification dated May 20, 2014 and sent it to the court without sending a copy to my lawyer.  Judge DeLuccia, based on the lawyer's secret certification, decided that the executive session minutes need to be kept secret.

On August 22, 2014 at 9 a.m., Judge Thomas F. Brogan will hear my motion, filed by Clinton lawyer Walter M. Luers, seeking to unseal the May 20, 2014 certification that convinced Judge DeLuccia to keep portions of the June 19, 2013 executive session minutes confidential.

My motion and the school board's opposition are on-line here and here.

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