SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ – In her ongoing effort to promote transparency and openness concerning the “solar issue,” Freeholder Gail Phoebus released the e-mail below sent by legal counsel to the Sussex County Administrator regarding the lack of honesty with OPRA requests.
——– Original Message ——–
|Subject:||OPRA request regarding Stephen Pearlman|
|Date:||2015-04-21 1:59 pm|
|Cc:||firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, DMcconnell <DMcconnell@sussex.nj.us>|
Gail forwarded to me your 4/16 e-mail concerning Stephen Pearlman’s invoices. It is curious that you responded to Gail without copying me. I was reminded of my March 6th letter to Dennis McConnell concerning the gag order, to which he never replied. It seems that nobody wants to respond to me directly.
Without exception, every one of my OPRA requests stated that it was filed on Gail’s behalf. In response to the question, “Please set forth your interest in the subject matter contained in the requested material,” I wrote, “Requestor is legal counsel for Freeholder Gail Phoebus and is filing this OPRA request on her behalf.” That language was contained on the third page of every request.
Going forward, I can only suggest that you read OPRA requests more carefully.
For some time, Gail has been asking you, Bernie Re and others about Pearlman’s payments without making headway. I am beginning to appreciate the difficulties she has encountered. Instead of writing an e-mail to Gail expressing how “happy” you would be to provide records to her, you could have simply sent the records to her.
Once again, I reiterate that Gail is requesting — through me, as her counsel — Stephen Pearlman’s invoices.
All of them. In unredacted form. This information will assist Gail in discharging her responsibilities as Freeholder.
To give you a head’s up, I intend to make additional OPRA requests. They will be on Gail’s behalf. For the sake of closing the loop, Gail will send an e-mail to you in the near future adopting all of my previous and future OPRA requests and asking you to provide unredacted and complete responses.
In view of the e-mail chain between Bernie Re and Pearlman’s associate regarding what information would be redacted (on which you and Dennis McConnell were copied), you know that in some instances, I filed identical OPRA requests with the MCIA. You may not know that in a couple of cases, I received more information (more documents) from the MCIA than I received from you. That tells me either you have been withholding information from Gail, or the MCIA has been withholding information from you.
Would you please respond to the questions posed in my e-mail last week, namely, why did Mr. Pearlman’s associate ask Mr. Re if he wanted more invoices redacted, and has your office been coordinating efforts with Mr. Pearlman’s office in an effort to conceal information from an elected freeholder?
Paid for as a Public Service by Freeholder Gail Phoebus/No Taxpayer Funds have been used in the preparation and distribution of this statement.