Following is an e-mail I sent yesterday to a detective in the Oceanport (Monmouth County) Police Department after I learned that the Oceanport school district’s prior business administrator destroyed public records in a manner inconsistent with New Jersey’s records retention law.
February 17, 2015
Gregory A. Lauretta Jr., Detective
Oceanport Police Department
315 E Main St
Oceanport, NJ 07757
via e-mail only to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Detective Lauretta:
I write on behalf of the New Jersey Libertarian Party’s Open Government Advocacy Project to request that you investigate a possible violation of the Destruction of Public Records Law, N.J.S.A. 47:3-29, which states that any person who “defaces, mutilates or destroys with malicious intent any public record shall be guilty of a high misdemeanor.” A “high misdemeanor . . shall mean crimes of the first, second, or third degree” under the 1978 Criminal Code. N.J.S.A. 2C:1-4.
According to a certification filed by Dennis W. Kotch, Business Administrator of the Oceanport school district (on-line here) Norma M. Tursi, Kotch’s predecessor at the Oceanport school district, ordered that various Board records be shredded despite the fact that “appropriate forms for the destruction of records were not submitted to the New Jersey Division of Asset [sic] and Record Management and that no records of what was destroyed were kept.”
Since a “high misdemeanor” equates to a “crime,” it would appear that the statute of limitation is 5 years. N.J.S.A. 2C:1-6(b)(1). Since Ms. Tursi’s alleged offense occured “approximately two years ago,” her alleged offense is within the statute of limitations.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
John Paff, Chairman
New Jersey Libertarian Party’s
Open Government Advocacy Project