Dear Ocean County,
This is a request for public records made under OPRA and the common law right of access. I certify under penalty of NJSA 2C:28-3 that I have not been convicted of an indictable offense. Please acknowledge receipt of this message.
Please provide a copy of a vendor history report in electronic format from [Authority name]'s computerized accounting system detailing all payments made to the following vendors for public notice publication fees from January 1st, 2017 to December 31st, 2017:
1. Asbury Park Press
2. Press of Atlantic City
3. The Star-Ledger (aka NJ Advance Media)
Please note that I am not seeking copies of actual bills or purchase orders, just the computer generated vendor history report(s) detailing the payments for this time period for the identified vendors.
Mr. Rozzi -
Please be advised, the County's Vendor History Report would contain payments made to vendors for all services rendered. There is no indication on the Report as to what the particular service would be. For instance, in the case of the newspapers it could be for public notices, advertising, subscriptions etc. The only way to determine the exact service would be to review each invoice. The invoices contain the detail for the bill. You are welcome to make an appointment to come into the Finance Department to review each invoice. However, it would be outside the scope of OPRA for the County to review and list just those payments made for public notices. OPRA requires the release of public documents. However, it does not require a public entity to create a document that does not exist.
As recognized by the Court, an OPRA request is not intended as a research tool, but rather as an avenue for citizens to obtain specific government records. MAG Entertainment, LLC v. Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, 534, 550 (2005)" OPRA simply operates to make identifiable government records readily accessible for copying, inspection or examination". Also, an opinion issued by the Appellate Division, Elizabeth Mason v. City of Hoboken, Docket No. A-0508-06T5, held that "OPRA is not intended to be used as a fishing expedition or as a research tool to compile unknown documents."
Please contact me if you wish to review the invoices for the vendors identified and I will be happy to set up an appointment for you.
Right of Appeal
If you wish to challenge a decision of the Custodian of Records, you may:
1. Institute a proceeding to challenge the decision by filing an action in the Superior Court of New Jersey; or
2. File a Complaint with the Government Records Council in the Department of Community Affairs
Betty Vasil/Clerk of the Board of Freeholders