RARITAN, NJ - The Raritan Borough Council unanimously approved a resolution that finally settles the lawsuit between the borough and Gannett New Jersey, which was filed by the media conglomerate in 2010.
With the settlement, the borough will pay $650,000 to Gannett over the next 90 days.
Gannett filed the lawsuit against the borough more than four years ago over access to information about employee salaries and overtime information.
According to reports on the lawsuit, Gannett wanted the information in electronic format, instead of paper or PDF, as it was looking to compare and analyze salary information among different municipalities.
The borough had denied the existence of the records and sought to pass on a $1,100 service charge to convert the data.
In 2012, as part of the ongoing court case, the borough provided the requested data to Gannett.
Now, the matter has been entirely settled with what has been called the largest settlement in an open public records case in New Jersey.
“It ends all litigation among the parties,” Raritan Mayor Chuck McMullin said.
McMullin had said in his address to the borough when he took office in January that settling the lawsuit quickly was among one of his top priorities. He had recommended the appointment of special legal counsel to handle the litigation.
“They performed very professionally and sought to protect the interests of our community,” he said.
McMullin said it took about two months to reach the settlement.
“The settlement was reached about two months after publicly stating goal to resolve litigation at the reorganization meeting in January,” he said. “Comments made at that time still very much apply. The council voted to authorize negotiations and was regularly updated. We communicated to the public multiple times our intentions to conclude this matter.”
“This is consistent with our goal to get Raritan back on track, and to focus on reinvigorating our community,” he added.