That didn’t take long! Yesterday, I received an email from the State Solicitor, Aaron Goldstein. This was in response to my assertion the Family Services Cabinet Council is a public body, subject to public meetings and FOIA. Which was based on research I did after the Attorney General’s office gave an opinion on my FOIA complaint to the Governor’s office about the council.
The heart of the issue stems around the disbursement of taxpayer funds. I alleged the council did just that based on what is written in Delaware state code. Specifically, §1605 of Title 14. But the State Solicitor did reference that section in his letter to me:
So this round goes to Governor Carney and the AG’s office. I still don’t agree with these glorified “staff meetings” being shut out of the public view, but until the laws surrounding Executive Privilege in Delaware change, the law is the law. Doesn’t make it a good law by any stretch of the imagination! I would think if you are going to all the trouble to make a “staff meeting” an actual council, you would look to see what is already in state code surrounding that very same council and solicit legislators to make changes around that language. But I guess that’s just me.
Delaware Governor John Carney is embarking down a very dangerous path. I assume this is in response to my article last month about how the first meeting of the Family Services Cabinet Council was closed to the public. Governor Carney rescinded his Executive Order #5 to create Executive Order #9 which established new wording in recreation of the Family Services Cabinet Council:
In accordance with the common law privilege protecting executive communications concerning the deliberative and policy-making processes, the records, investigations, internal communications, deliberations and draft work product of the Council shall be confidential and may be disclosed only at the direction of the Governor.
What kind of nonsense is this John Carney? A Cabinet-level council, and you deliberately shut any discussion this group has out of the public eye? The very term “deliberative and policy-making processes” demands it be open to the public. You are full of it Governor Carney. Your campaign promise and the part on your inaugural address about an open state government was a complete and utter lie. We both know what will happen in these meetings. Stop pretending you are a Governor and not a corporate puppet to the special interests that want to turn education and the workforce into their own molding. I am done listening to anything you have to say. With the stroke of a pen, in response to my article about transparency in your office, you have shown your true colors once and for all. Shame on you Governor Carney. You have destroyed FOIA in Delaware with this action by essentially excluding any of your Cabinet members on this charade of a Family Services Cabinet Council. They can cite executive privilege in any FOIA request by stating it is tied to the activities of this council. And with one line on this, you have made damn sure you can invite anyone to the party and protect them as well with no oversight or transparency whatsoever: “…and such others as the Governor shall invite.” But we will NEVER know who those others are, will we. Open government my ass. Dictatorship is more like it.