On May 12, 2009, I wrote a letter to the Spring Lake Heights (Monmouth County) Borough Council and Board of Education advising them that having a joint Board/Council committee privately hash out adjustments to the defeated school budget a) violated the spirit of the Open Public Meetings Act and b) violated the letter of the Act if an “effective majority” of either body were to attend the private committee meetings.

I was hopeful that the two public bodies would decide to open its joint committee meeting to the public so that these important deliberations could be observed by the taxpayers.

Instead, I received letters from the attorneys for both the Board and Council telling me that each body will send only one representative to the joint committee meeting, which will be held tonight. Since one member is less than an “effective majority” both attorneys informed me that “it is not necessary to address any of the legal arguments contained in your letter.” My letter and the two attorney responses are on-line here.

John Paff
Somerset, New Jersey

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project. Please send all comments to [email protected]