BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Thomas Foregger, a candidate running in the June 6, 2017 Berkeley Heights Township Council Republican primary, filed a lawsuit on April 11, 2017 against the Township of Berkeley Heights and Ana Minkoff, in her official capacity as Municipal Clerk and Records Custodian. The lawsuit alleges a violation of the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and the common law of access to the details of an unredacted invoice pertaining to Berkeley Heights Police Department's coverage at the Winter Walk held on December 3, 2016 in conjunction with the Township's Tree Lighting Ceremony.
The invoice received by Foregger from the Township contained redactions which omitted details regarding individual assignment of officers and did not provide information to determine the cost to Berkeley Heights residents for what he called a "private shopping event for Berkeley Heights Businesses," according to filed lawsuit. Foregger is requesting a copy of an unredacted invoice.
Police Chief John DiPasquale said that these redactions were for security and surveillance reasons. According to the lawsuit that was filed, Minkoff said, "The attached invoice includes information regarding individual police officers, the assignment, along with the date and time of the assignment Pursuant to Rivera, duty logs document the nature of a police officer's daily activities and the amount of time that he devotes to patrol duties, which includes details of the assignments of police personnel; accordingly are exempt from OPRA being such records necessarily include details regarding surveillance techniques and staffing levels, which, if disclosed, such information could pose a risk to the safety of police personnel. N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1. Furthermore, J.J.A.C.13:1E-3.2(a)7 limits the disclosure of records that provides '[t]he duty assignment of an individual law enforcement officer or any personally identifiable information that may reveal or lead to information that may reveal such duty assignment, including, but not limited to, overtime data pertaining to an individual law enforcement officer' is not considered a government record."
Click here for lawsuit documents filed.
According to the filed documents, the defendants, Township of Berkeley Heights and Ana Minkoff, in her official capacity as Records Custodian, will appear and show cause on May 12, 2017 before Honorable Robert J. Mega in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Union County Courthouse.