NFOIC signs brief urging release of New Jersey corrections officer’s settlement agreement

The National Freedom of Information Coalition, along with a dozen other organizations, joined a Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press amicus brief in a New Jersey case concerning access to settlement agreements between public employees and public agencies.

Libertarians for Transparent Government sought a settlement agreement between a former corrections officer and Cumberland County, New Jersey. A lower court held that the agreement was disclosable under the state’s Open Public Records Act, but the Appellate Division reversed, holding that the agreement was a personnel record, and therefore exempt from OPRA.

RCFP’s amicus brief to the New Jersey Supreme Court argues that portions of a public record being exempt does not mean the entire record must be exempt. The brief also argues that “press access to settlement agreements between public officials and agencies is critical to ensuring that the public is able to scrutinize the conduct of public servants and public institutions.”