Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Downloadable PDF file on Berlin Township's website tells citizens that OPRA form is no longer available on-line.

Is it possible that Berlin Township (Camden County) is trying to dissuade citizens from seeking records under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA)?  One could argue that  this is exactly what Mayor Phyllis Magazzu and other Township officials are trying to do.

If one goes to the Township's main page and clicks the "Forms" button, there's a link for "OPRA requests."  But, when one clicks on the link to download the PDF file, citizens will find that the PDF is not the OPRA form, but a letter that says that the Township is "sorry to inform you that [the OPRA request] form is no longer available on line." 

But, not to worry.  Citizens who "are interested in filing an O.P.R.A. request" are given the convenient option of "com[ing] to the Clerk's Office located at 135 Route 73 South, West Berlin, NJ 08091 to obtain the proper form."

Fortunately, ever since the Appellate Division's 2009 decision in Renna v. Union County, requests do not need to be submitted on any specific form.  Those who wish to submit an OPRA request to Berlin Township can do so by sending an e-mail with "OPRA request" in the subject line to Township Clerk Cathy Underwood at CUnderwood@BerlinTwp.com.

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