Open Government Activist Seeks New Jersey Government Records

In another action brought by John Paff, a “self-proclaimed open government activist” who has pursued litigation to secure government documents pursuant to the Open Public Record Acts (“OPRA”) in several instances, a Superior Court judge held that Paff was entitled to the documents he sought as well as attorneys’ fees associated with the action.

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Names of police subject to internal affairs complaints are public records, judge rules

The names of police officers who are subject to an internal affairs complaint, as well as the names of complainants, cannot be shielded from the public under the state Open Public Records Law, a state judge has ruled.

In the decision, handed down Thursday, state Superior Court Judge Peter Doyne in Bergen County found the Bergen County Sheriff's Office wrongly redacted the information in records provided to John Paff, a self-proclaimed open government activist.

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EDITORIAL: Open government a nuisance to Christie

Gov. Christie and his administration have pulled plenty of shameless stunts to protect Christie's image. Few though, have been as blatant as the decision earlier this year to delete public information about town-by-town property-tax rebates and net property-tax growth from the state Department of Community Affairs website.

The goal was to try to prevent meaningful comparisons of the full impact of tax policies between Christie and his gubernatorial predecessor, Jon Corzine.

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Port Authority vows to follow N.Y., N.J. public information laws

Getting ahead of pending legislation intended to enhance transparency at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency today adopted a freedom of information policy that will abide by the laws of New York State and New Jersey.

The Port Authority Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the new policy during this afternoon's monthly meeting, which was held in Jersey City under the agency's new policy of rotating meeting locations.

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New York Press Club blasts Gov. Christie’s blacklist tactic

The New York Press Club is publicly criticizing Gov. Chris Christie and his staff for blacklisting New Jersey Watchdog. The journalists’ organization “expresses its outrage over the Christie administration’s apparent ‘blacklisting’ of New Jersey Watchdog, in an effort to prevent the news outlet from receiving press advisories and official announcements from the governor’s office,” Press Club President Larry Seary said.

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NJ judge finds state wrongly denied man seeking requests for public records

A New Jersey judge ruled Monday that Gov. Chris Christie's administration must honor an activist's public records requests for requests filed by others.

The decision from Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson finds fault with the state's recent strategy of denying such requests on the grounds that people who ask for government records have a privacy right. A state government lawyer said that people can use government records requests to explore lawsuits or dig up dirt on political opponents — things that Jacobson said need not be confidential.

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Advocate asks prosecutor for policy on municipal emails

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office is reviewing a request by an open-government advocate to create a policy for the use of email communications by public officials that is consistent with the Open Public Meetings Act.

The request, made Jan. 23 by John Paff of the New Jersey Libertarian Party’s Open Government Advocacy Project, was prompted by controversy involving email exchanges among four members of the Eatontown Borough Council about a political appointment.

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NJ Senate to vote on open public records bill this afternoon

From Planet Princeton:

(February 7, 2013) – The New Jersey Senate is slated to vote on changes to the State’s Open Public Records Act today that are supposed to provide citizens with more access to public records. But many open government advocates no longer support the bill because of a key change regarding legal fees. The New Jersey Press Association also opposes the legal fee change.

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New Jersey just got 600 more websites transparent

From Sunshine Review

Literally, New Jersey just got 600 more websites transparent.   A law passed this last January is requiring 600 local entities,  such as  water utilities, port authorities and county park commissions, to provide budgets, audit reports, meeting dates, contacts and other information on the Internet.

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