Jersey Journal had to fight for Parking Authority records showing who got breaks

From After receiving about 10 boot void sheets from a source, The Jersey Journal filed an Open Public Records Act request on Oct. 24 seeking all sheets the JCPA has on record for the last three years.

On Nov. 6, JCPA attorney Aurelio Vincitore denied the newspaper’s request, saying that releasing the sheets would “substantially interfere with the state or federal government’s ability to protect and defend its citizens against acts of sabotage or terrorism if disclosed.”


Christie critics cry foul over public records access

From USA Today: TRENTON, N.J. — In advance of an expected 2016 presidential campaign, Chris Christie’s administration is stepping up efforts to control the Republican governor’s image at all costs — even skirting sunshine laws that permit public access to government records.

Getting the Christie administration to release its grip of records tracking use of federal recovery money for Superstorm Sandy has been particularly difficult for watchdog groups and media outlets, including the Asbury Park Press.


NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for October 25, 2013

From NFOIC:  A few state FOIA and local open government news items selected from many of interest that we might or might not have drawn attention to earlier in the week. While you're at it, be sure to check out State FOIA Friday Archives.


Pittsgrove acting clerk violated New Jersey Open Public Records Act, state officials rule

From PITTSGROVE TWP. — The acting township clerk violated a law by failing to provide requested documents to a resident under the Open Public Records Act, according to state officials.

Steve Wymbs was found to be in violation, according to the New Jersey Government Records Council, after he was unable to locate and produce less than 3 percent of the total requested documents from resident Norman Lenchitz.


Pension probe: Does the public have a right to know, or will New Jersey authorities keep lieutenant governor’s secrets forever?

From Should New Jersey officials be allowed to keep forever secret a criminal investigation on alleged corruption involving a prominent elected official?

Or does the public have a right to know what the state found – and how authorities handled a probe rife with conflicts of interest?


Northern Valley parents file open-records suit against district over drug-policy discussions

From A group of parents has sued the Northern Valley Regional Board of Education, claiming it did not comply with state open-records law by providing access to some documentation of official discussion about a random drug-testing policy.

Bruce Rosen of Florham Park, the attorney representing the parents, claimed the district violated the Open Public Records Act because it did not give the requested information in a timely manner and when it was finally delivered, important documents were withheld.


Spending facts: New Jersey has to be more open

From The Daily Journal:

Government transparency is certainly not New Jersey’s middle name. But the state does get a middle grade for its spending transparency, earning a “C” in the fourth annual report on spending openness from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Using U.S. PIRG terminology, that means New Jersey is among a large collection of “emerging” states, which is at least better than the lagging and failing states behind them.


Arming citizens with the power of knowledge


It’s Sunshine Week, that time of year we reflect on the importance of government transparency and how critical it is to our democracy. Much of the conversation during Sunshine Week focuses on the failure of government to be open and transparent. Citizens, Journalists, and Reform groups use this time to highlight how we can expand our current rights and combat government secrecy.