Save yourself a trip to Hartford with overzealous compliance
A common complaint that I hear from Town Clerks is that they don’t want to be called up to Hartford to respond to a frivolous Freedom of Information appeal. Unfortunately, the only way to avoid that problem is to be overzealous in complying with the Freedom of Information law and FOI requests.Sometimes that means putting up notices well before you are required to be posted by the Freedom of Information Act.
The Borough of Woodmont recently learned that lesson the hard way with Stephen Borer, who has filed at least five Freedom of Information appeals against the borough, the most recent of which was ruled on by the Commission about a month ago.
You’ll read more on this blog about Stephen Borer in the coming months, but his most recent appeal is what matters when you want to know what I mean about overzealous compliance. Why? Because Borer complained about office hours for each month being posted on the first business day of that month instead of on the first day of the month.
Think that’s bad? He also complained because the borough, which only has one clerk, didn’t post the office hours for September 2008 until September 3, 2008. September 1, 2008 was a holiday. Guess what happened on September 2. The clerk was up in Hartford to be a witness for Borer’s Freedom of Information appeal!
The Commission ruled in the borough’s favor, but hopefully the borough learned an important lesson. You can save yourself a trip to Hartford by posting notices early.