Kean Federation of Teachers v. Morell, 233 N.J. 566 (2018)

1.1.18

In Kean Federation of Teachers v. Morell, 233 N.J. 566 (2018), the plaintiff sued Kean University for waiting more than three months to approve its closed session meeting minutes and make them available to the public. The Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) requires meeting minutes to be “promptly available” to the public, but it provides no specific time frame. Pashman Stein Walder Hayden attorney CJ Griffin submitted an amicus curiae brief in the New Jersey Supreme Court on behalf of Libertarians for Transparent Government, a nonprofit organization devoted to open government and transparency, arguing that meeting minutes should be available to the public prior to the next public meeting. The New Jersey Supreme Court held that the three-month delay in releasing the minutes was “unreasonable” and constituted a violation of OPMA, but it did not set any specific time frame regarding when meeting minutes should be released, recognizing that OPMA’s requirements apply to a diverse range of public agencies with various meeting schedules. Still, the court held that if Kean University’s board continued to meet so sporadically that it did not approve meeting minutes for months at a time, the court “might see the issue again.”

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