Saturday, August 20, 2016

Lawsuit tests whether "Intergovernmental Transfer Agreements" are disclosable under OPRA.

On Thursday, October 27, 2016, 10:30 a.m., Mercer County Assignment Judge Mary C. Jacobson will hear argument on whether "Intergovernmental Transfer Agreements"--documents that are completed when civil service employees transfer from one job to another--are public under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA).

In Darnell Hardwick v. Civil Service Commission, et al, Docket No. MER-L-1638-16, Hardwick requested the transfer applications submitted by five police officers who were terminated by the Camden City Police Department and then re-hired by the Camden County Metro Police Department. Civil Service Commission Records Custodian Peter J. Lyden, III denied Hardwick's request in its entirety claiming that the records were exempted by OPRA's personnel records exception. 

But, Walter M. Luers, Hardwick's lawyer, argues that the Commission should have released redacted versions of the records because an exception to OPRA's personnel records exception requires certain basic information about employees to be disclosed.  Luers argues that the Commission, as it has done in the past, should disclose the applications "to the extent that they show payroll information, employee names, titles, positions, dates of separation, etc."  Luers characterizes the transfer applications as being "ministerial in nature, [containing] basic salary and employee title information, and [which] do not contain sensitive information, other than personal information that can (and has been) redacted in the past."

The hearing, which is open to the public, will be held in the New Criminal Courthouse, 400 S. Warren Street in Trenton.

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