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February 10, 2012

Open Public Meetings Act hearing in Bridgeton

By JOHN PAFF

Back on August 10, 2010, I attended a meeting of the Bridgeton (Cumberland County) Board of Education.  A few days later, I remarked on my blog that "I have rarely witnessed more cavalier and imperious public officials than the members of the Bridgeton Board of Education. I look forward to working with them to improve their compliance with both the letter and the spirit of the Open Public Meetings Act."

After a year elapsed, I made an Open Public Records Act request to the school board to see if its Meetings Act compliance had improved.  After reviewing the documents, I filed a pro se lawsuit against the board on October 24, 2011.  Today, I filed a motion for summary judgment and asked for a hearing to be scheduled on Friday, April 27, 2012.  My motion, with all exhibits, including my lawsuit and the Board's answer, are on-line here.

The compliance issues with the Bridgeton school board are similar to the problems that exist in many public bodies around New Jersey: the executive session resolutions don't advise the public of the issues that are going to be discussed and the executive session minutes don't provide any real detail of the matters that were discussed.

My case will almost certainly be heard by Assignment Judge Georgia M. Curio, who is the top judge for Salem, Gloucester and Cumberland counties.  A positive outcome in this case will be helpful in defining the minimum level of detail public bodies in the tri-county area need to include within their closed session resolutions and minutes.

John Paff is the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project.

Comments :

Ricardo


03/28/2014
There's a HUGE difference!I know first hand. My step mhtoer and I were in a bad car accident when I was twelve. My step mhtoer's wrist was snapped almost completely off. She was rushed to the ER and they did everything in their power to put her wrist h/hand back in place. That was 94 and since then she has had four more surgeries AND she has limited to no feeling in her left hand.Point to this story is the people that hit her had no insurance (They were from TN) and they were not held responsible for anything but making monthly payments to my step mhtoer for her surgey (She had health insurance). Theys topped paying after about a year. It wasnt worth my step mhtoer hiring an attorney and spending a lot of time in court. Secondly, auto insurance is to protect innocent people as well and the people who gave you the loan to buy youre new car.Most importantly it's NOT true that all these people dont have anyway of recieving healthcare. I live in Raleigh NC and there are SEVERAL health care facilities that provide care to those of a lower income. WakeMed hospital will accept payment arrangements if you need a surgery and cant afford it.My oldest sister in law cant afford health care coverage because she is a single mhtoer and barely makes it. She goes to a nice clinic to get her annual female check and even when she is sick. She gets discount meds at WalMart too for like $ 4. They base it off your income and decide what amount you need to pay. Most of her appointments come out to about $ 30-$ 40 which is GREAT! I HAVE health insurance and when I went to get some x-rays and MRI's I had to pay a co-pay of $ 100 each time AND my sister in law paid a $ 50 TOTAL for a cat scan of her knee. So to hear all these people crying out about not getting help is just so far from the truth.NO . you dont have a large variety of choices in doctors but you do recieve medical care. MY youngest sister in law works at McDonalds and she has been offered twice health insurance at $ 7/week. She CAN afford it. She makes $ 9/hr and works more than 40 hours a week and has NO debts except her cell phone of $ 55/month and her part of rent of $ 200. She HAS the right to refuse health insurance. She is ONLY hurting herself, not anyone else. IShe has made the decison that she does NOT want health insurance BUT everytime she gets sick she runs to the ER and they treat her and she NEVER pays. It's very unfair.She also has a growth growing on her ear and that growth has another growth growing on top of it.It needs to be removed. She has made payment arrangements with a local hospital of $ 25 a month for three years. So whats so terrible about that??????? I think she should ocunt her lucky stars and feel BLESSED that she is able to have surgery after she made the decison twice that she didnt want health insurance.Dont get me wrong. I REALLY do understand that there are people out there that cant find jobs, afford health care, or do anything. I know there are people out there who are truly victims of their upbringing and can't break the cycle. I understand that more than anyone.But I also understand that there are SOOO many people who will NOT marry their significant others because it effects the government help they received for themselves and their children. Now thats just so unfair.LASTLY, I have a girlfriend from Canada who I met in Floridia while on vacation. She HATES their health care. When one of her kids are sick she cant just take them in to the doctor. She usually needs to wait a day or two until there is space.Ohh yeah, may I add that I have a severe Nuerological disorder and I need brain surgery again. I have really great health care insurance. But the BEST doctor out there for my specific surgery is in Long Neck NY. My insurance will not cover him because he is out of network HOWEVER I am just very grateful that I am recieving medical attention that is very very good.I WISH I could have the Neurosurgeon in Long Neck NY operate on me instead but it is what it is.Just think, there are people out there who suffer daily and dont even have access to Tylenol or food or clean water, but make sure you complain to no end about not being able to see Dr. Wonderful, and you had to SETTLE for Dr. Fantastic.So inconsiderate ..

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