NJFOG Research Finds Systemic Lack of Compliance with the Open Public Conferences Act


New Jersey Basis for Open Authorities, March 2021

New Jersey’s native governments, on common, are solely 60 % in compliance with the New Jersey Open Public Conferences Act (OPMA), in keeping with a research launched by the New Jersey Basis for Open Authorities (NJFOG).

The OPMA, handed into legislation in 1975, has remained comparatively unchanged over 45 years. The first objective of the OPMA is to conduct authorities conferences in public, preserve a document of public conferences, and provides the general public satisfactory discover.

In what’s the first statewide research of municipalities, native authorities and boards of schooling, the NJFOG examined municipal compliance with OPMA necessities. These are the: 1) particular assembly discover necessities; 2) correct discover assertion included in assembly minutes; 3) closed session resolutions; and 4) necessities of assembly minutes associated to closed periods.

The research discovered that no public entity was totally compliant with the OPMA.

As a gaggle, municipalities have been 54 % compliant; native authorities have been 44 % compliant; and boards of schooling have been 60 % criticism.

“There may be at present no mechanism throughout the OPMA that will permit residents to simply carry enforcement actions to enhance compliance,” stated Walter Luers, NJFOG board member and certainly one of New Jersey’s greatest identified open authorities attorneys.

“Residents can file complaints within the Superior Court docket, however few of them have the data to file a pro-se lawsuit with out authorized illustration and so they do not have monetary means to rent an lawyer,” stated Luers. “Sadly, public our bodies are conscious of this and ignore the legislation with impunity. That is why the OPMA wants an enforcement mechanism to result in compliance.”

“The findings of our in depth research display a transparent and really troubling sample. Governing our bodies throughout the state will not be respecting the rights of residents to knowledgeable participation in public conferences,” stated Lee Dorry, President of NJFOG. Dorry can also be the founding father of Essex Watch, an area authorities watchdog group.

“Property taxes and the skyrocketing value of residing in New Jersey are on the minds of nearly each resident. Our Legislature should prioritize and enact significant amendments to OPMA to make sure transparency and accountability from our public officers,” stated Dorry.

The info for the NJFOG research have been collected in 2018. NJFOG intends to replace the research findings in 2021.


A duplicate of the NJFOG OPMA Compliance Research is accessible right here: