CJ Griffin, Director of the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, was quoted in the NorthJersey.com article, “Sunshine Laws in New Jersey allow governments to remain in the shadow, experts say.” The article discusses proposed amendments to the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) to, among other things, require mandatory attorney fees for law violations, timely release of information, and quarterly reviews of closed-session minutes to determine which ones or portions could be released to the public.
CJ Griffin, one of the state's best-known Sunshine Law attorneys, said the Open Public Meetings Act leaves much to be desired.
“OPMA lacks teeth,” Griffin said. ‘There is some penalty provision, but only the AG [attorney general] or prosecutor can pursue it, and the penalty is like $100 — not sure anyone has ever even gotten a penalty.”
One of the problems, she said, is that enforcement is almost entirely dependent on residents.
“They know when they violate OPMA, most people can’t afford to sue,” she said. And it's the judge's discretion whether legal fees can be recouped.
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