Did DE DOJ & AG Office Collaborate w/DE DOE on Legal Opinion About Priority Schools?

It sure looks like it.  Is that even legal?  Wouldn’t the whole point about getting a legal opinion from an Attorney General’s office about another state department be they should not go to that other state department to get legal advice about the legal opinion they have been asked to provide about something coming from that state department?  Is that the longest question I’ve ever typed in my life? (Yes) How corrupt is the Delaware state government?  Does the United States Department of Justice need to be notified of this?  Does the first email which specifically states “It is not a public document under FOIA” even count as “not an FOIA document” if it was included in an actual FOIA request?  With the priority school decisions coming in early January, someone needs to look at the shenanigans the Delaware DOE, Delaware DOJ and Governor Markell’s office have committed in this quest.  And there are still a lot of FOIAs left to come out that the state needs to provide which will give EVEN MORE answers!  Read the below and see how our state operates!

 

3 thoughts on “Did DE DOJ & AG Office Collaborate w/DE DOE on Legal Opinion About Priority Schools?

  1. Wouldn’t the whole point about getting a legal opinion from an Attorney General’s office about another state department be they should not go to that other state department to get legal advice about the legal opinion they have been asked to provide about something coming from that state department?

    Welcome to the sausage factory. This is EXACTLY how the AG’s office ALWAYS processes requests for opinions on other government agencies. I have seen it done with the Division Public Health, DNREC, and others. So here’s the good news: you’re right, they collaborate (and it’s unethical although arguably NOT exactly illegal). Bad news: that’s how this gets done in Delaware for EVERY government agency; it’s not specific to Education, and it’s NOT gonna change when Matt Denn becomes AG.

    My most fervent wish is that people start realizing that there is a reason we’re listed as the fifth most corrupt state in the nation–it ain’t just education.

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  2. snewton – you are very correct. But, let’s differentiate that there are two kinds of FOIA – one that seeks an opinion and one that seeks reconciliation. These two types of FOIA are not discernible in written law, but are evident in practice.

    In the years that I spent delving into FOIA I learned a couple of interesting things. 1) the AG’s office often communicated more robustly with the department than with me and 2) the AG often tried to reach a mutually agreeable opinion for both parties. Sometimes, it was worthwhile to concede a point or two to speed the opinion into the public arena. (FOIA 1 – for opinion) Often, it was better to hold out or even dig deeper to get to the crux of the violation. And occasionally, the AG supported corrective measures. (FOIA 2 – reconcilation) I am always most in favor of training as remediation. To force a re-vote of an inane motion is often futile. It won’t change the outcome. But, to require decision makers to give up their time and sometimes their departments funding to hear an oft-rehearsed speech on FOIA can be quite satisfactory. There was a case in which the Pencader board of directors paid exorbitantly to learn the folly of their ways – as their own already retained lawyers assessed new fees for corporate training. (The irony is that the training required is often available for free through a myriad of organizations.) It was the hope that by giving of ones time and self to endure what is pretty cut and dry, that board would not delve into the darkness again. Sadly, the body’s ego was not able to overcome its own Id (the part of the mind in which innate instinctive impulses and primary processes are manifest) and thus repeatedly offenses required repeated FOIA. The result of the CSD FOIA (filed by John Young and mself) was much more well received. CSD ceased to hold meetings that potentially violated FOIA and their board became much more aware of the code itself.

    When its not being abused by collusion, FOIA is an excellent tool to seek evidence as well as spur correction. The communication that you’ve posted on your blog, Kevin, concern me in only that the nature is more collusive than I’ve previously seen but in no way surprise me.

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