New Jersey government issues fines against records custodians

A New Jersey newspaper reports this morning that the New Jersey Government Records Council has issued its first-ever fines.

As the article’s subtitle puts it:

Clerk Donald E. Kazar took months to comply with open records request, saying he was too busy.

Although Kazar works for South Bound Brook, the $1,000 fine was levied against him as an individual.

An additional personal fine of $1,000 was levied against Gwendolyn Morrison of the Paterson Housing Authority.

Vincent Maltese, chair of the Government Records Council, says:

“A claim of ignorance of OPRA’s provisions or a dereliction of duty rising to the level of knowing and willful conduct is not an excuse for noncompliance.

A citizen comment at the newspaper article about the fines says that John Paff, the New Jersey resident who filed the open records request that led to the fine against Kazar is:

…a known troublemaker in this state; he makes frivolous OPRA requests for records that DOES NOT AFFECT HIM WHATSOEVER, He supports the legalization of drugs, and the abolishment of gun control. His judgment to file the OPRA complaint is a clouded one at best, as his ideals are questionable.

Citizen troublemakers, unite.

A page about Paff and open government.

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