I filed a Freedom of Information Act complaint against DelTech Community College on May 10th, 2017. The Delaware Department of Justice issued their legal opinion on the FOIA complaint today. They found that DelTech violated open meeting law with their College Educational Foundation and The Collegewide Criminal Justice Advisory Board.
First, the Attorney General had to determine if these two entities are public bodies. They found both are. Especially noteworthy is their Foundation. Because their Foundation consists of seven members from the college’s Board of Trustees, and four board members represents a quorum, they are a public body that must make their meetings public and produce minutes from each meeting.
…any gathering of the Foundation that includes a quorum of the Board of Trustees, and during which public business is discussed, is considered a meeting of the Board of Trustees to which FOIA’s open meeting requirements are applicable.
I did name other groups at the school, specifically their Collegewide Safety/Security Committee, Ad Hoc President’s Council, President’s Council, and Learning Community Collegewide Steering Committee. Because those groups are made up of staff members, they are not considered a public body thus they are immune to open meeting law.
It’s hard sometimes to win these things. There are ambiguities in state code that can turn a predicted victory into a moment of defeat. But I was very pleased with the outcome of this one and what it means for other such entities floating around Delaware. Time to do some reaching out to other various foundations in the state. For those who think this might apply to Delaware State University or University of Delaware, think again. They are exempt from FOIA law in Delaware.
To read the full legal opinion issued by Deputy Attorney General Carla Jarosz, please read below: