Do two OPRA requests constitute harassment?

At the May 10, 2011 Runnemede (Camden County) Board of Education executive session, Board Attorney Philip E. Stern, Esq. said that he would contact me and another citizen “requesting that [we] cease and desist [filing OPRA requests] under possible charges of harassment.” The minutes of the closed meeting, which I learned about just today, are available on the Board’s site as well as here.

According to the minutes, I and two other citizens were filing Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests “in an effort to find some information to support [a] suspicion . . . that some fraud or unethical events occurred.” Board attorney Phillip Stern opined that “the volume and nature [of the OPRA requests] has been expanding and interferes with the ability to administer the district.”

I confess that I am guilty as charged. I filed two OPRA requests with the Board–on April 7, 2011 and May 7, 2011–in an attempt to find out why the Board entered into a settlement agreement with its former business administrator and gave her a seven-month paid leave of absence at her annual salary of $99,465. The Board’s responses to my two OPRA requests resulted in my June 3, 2011 lawsuit against the Board: That lawsuit is on-line here.

For unknown reasons, Stern never followed through on his promise to send me a “cease and desist” letter.

By John Paff

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