Thursday, June 9, 2016

OPRA lawsuit seeks nature of conduct underlying harassment complaints and terms of separation deal that Township made with resigned mayor.

On April 25, 2016, I blogged about a South Jersey mayor's abrupt resignation which he originally attributed to being "too busy in life" but later appeared to have been motivated by harassment complaints filed by four Township employees.  This week, a new Open Public Records Act (OPRA) lawsuit has been filed that challenges the denial of records related to the harassment matters and the Township's manner of dealing with them.

The lawsuit, which was filed on June 6, 2016, seeks records revealing the nature of the conduct underlying the four employee harassment complaints apparently directed toward former Commercial Township (Cumberland County) Mayor Judson Moore, Jr as well a "Signed and Sealed Memorandum of Understanding" that sets forth the terms of conditions relating to Moore's March 2016 resignation.  The lawsuit specifically asks that the names of the employees who were allegedly harassed and identifying information regarding them remain confidential.  The lawsuit chronicles Moore's history of public service and notes that he had previously separated from Bridgeton, Somers Point and Fairfield under unusual circumstances.

The lawsuit, which is captioned Libertarians For Transparent Government v. Commercial Township, et al, Docket No. CUM-L-402-16, will be heard by a Cumberland County Superior Court  Assignment Judge Georgia Curio in Bridgeton on September 1, 2016.  The Township's opposition brief is on-line here and Plaintiff's reply brief is on-line here.  Plaintiff is being represented by CJ Griffin of Hackensack and the Defendants are being represented by Thomas E. Seeley of Bridgeton.

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