Dear Village of Ridgewood,

This is an email request for public records under New Jersey's Open Public Records Act, and the common law right of access.

The public records I am requesting are:

All pre- and post-public records relating to the matter transmitted to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) on October 5, 2015. Namely:

- William N. Sosis, (Petitioner), v. Ridgewood Water Company, (Respondent).
- Office of Administrative Law Docket NO. PUC 15788-15
- Agency Docket NO. WC15080975

In complying with this, please be sure to provide:

(1) AUDIO Recordings in their ORIGINAL and UNEDITED digital format including metadata. E.g., "DCR," "WAV," "OGG," "MP3, or otherwise;

(2) All public records including but not limited to phone calls, texts, e-mails, memoranda, correspondence, public meetings, special meeting minutes, work session minutes, contracts, documents, oral or written presentations, letter(s), and all other records between Ridgewood Water and/or licensee or any agent or affiliate thereof, and the Village of Ridgewood, including but not limited to the Clerk, Mayor, Administrator, any/all Council members, Planning Board members, Zoning Board members, and/or any employee of the Village of Ridgewood; and

(3) All public records including but not limited to phone calls, texts, e-mails, memoranda, correspondence, public meetings, special meeting minutes, work session minutes, contracts, documents, oral or written presentations, letter(s), and any communications between the Clerk, Mayor, Administrator, any/all Council members, Planning Board members, Zoning Board members, and/or any employee of the Village of Ridgewood.

Please acknowledge receipt of this message, send all responses to me via electronic file, and kindly respond BY OR BEFORE the time prescribed by N.J.S.A. 47:1A-6

Thank you,
Bill Sosis

Heather Mailander, Ridgewood Village

I have received your OPRA request. In the future, please send all OPRA requests to me and my Deputy Village Clerk, Donna Jackson, at [email address]. In this way, your OPRA request will be handled in the most efficient manner possible.

Thank you.

Heather A. Mailander
Village Manager/Village Clerk
Village of Ridgewood
131 North Maple Ave.
Ridgewood, NJ 07451
[Ridgewood Village request email]
201-670-5500 ext. 203- Phone
201-652-7623 - Fax

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Dear Heather Mailander,
Thank you for your kind offer. I prefer however that all my public records requests be processed through this website (OPRAMACHINE.COM).
William Sosis

Dear Village of Ridgewood,

Per my public records request dated March 02, 2020, the records were to be provided via electronic file by or before the time prescribed by law.

According to my records, the public records are now due.

I look forward to receiving them at your earliest opportunity.

Sincerely,
Bill Sosis

Donna Jackson, Ridgewood Village

William,

 

The Village Clerk’s Office is in receipt of your request and needs
clarification of the following details.  Please provide a time frame for
items 1, 2 and 3.  In addition, please advise the names of the employees
of the Village of Ridgewood that would be involved in items 2 and 3.
 Thank you.

 

Donna M. Jackson

Deputy Village Clerk

Village of Ridgewood

131 N. Maple Avenue

Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Phone:  201 670-5500 x 205

Fax:  201 652-7623

 

Notice: You are advised that copies of correspondence, including e-mail
correspondence and attachments, between the public and the Village of
Ridgewood are obtainable by any person filing a request under the Open
Public Records Act (OPRA) unless subject to a specific OPRA exception.
There should be no expectation that the content of emails exchanged
between the public and municipal officials and employees will remain
private.     

Dear Donna Jackson,
It is appalling (and improper) for the Village of Ridgewood to respond with questions on the day when the records are due. Your response is dilatory and well beyond the law and spirit of OPRA. Asking for a "time frame" should be completely unnecessary since you know my request relates to a single matter. Moreover, only the Village of Ridgewood would know the full period surrounding the requested and very specific records and the names of its own employees. The administrative law docket and Agency docket numbers provided should be more than sufficient. You should already know that the began in 2015 and concluded on March 21, 2016. I do not know the names of the employees of the Village of Ridgewood that would be involved since they never identified themselves.

Please respond by end of day to remain in compliance with OPRA.

In addition, your own town attorney, Rogers, knows full well and has personal knowledge about what this OPRA request is about.

Donna Jackson, Ridgewood Village

William,

Thank you for your response and providing a time frame for the documents. We are requesting an extension of time to respond to the request. We will provide a response on or prior to Friday, March 20, 2020. Thank you.

Donna M. Jackson
Deputy Village Clerk
Village of Ridgewood
131 N. Maple Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07451
Phone: 201 670-5500 x 205
Fax: 201 652-7623

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Your message is confusing and apparently dilatory. I have not provided a time frame as I do not know it. In my March 02, 2020 request, I informed you of the case name and the date the matter was transferred to the Office of Administrative law. If an OPRA requests asks for public records pertaining to a specific legal matter, how is the requester expected to know the "time frame" and names of the public officials and/or employees that might have a connection with any related records? Why isn't the case name, docket numbers, and the names of the parties sufficient? It should not be a surprise to the Village of Ridgewood that it owns and controls Ridgewood Water. Moreover, on the date of my request I received an acknowledgment from Heather A. Mailander. Nine (9) days later, on March 11, 2020, after not having received the public records, I sent you a reminder that the records were due. I did not receive the records. Instead, I received a second message from "Donna Jackson" saying that "the Village Clerk’s Office is in receipt of [my] request and needs clarification." Why was an extension not requested 9 days earlier on March 2, 2020, when you sent your first acknowledgment? Since March 2, 2020, you've had more than sufficient information to provide the records I've requested. Whereas I would normally grant a time extension to municipalities for legitimate reasons, I do not think your tactics are ethical nor legitimate to say the least. Please provide the requested records no later than end-of-day March 16, 2020.

Donna Jackson, Ridgewood Village

3 Attachments

William,

 

Attached you will find files with documents to partially fulfill your OPRA
Request.  There are additional documents we are unable to provide at this
current time.  Our IT Department has been consumed for two weeks with
emergency duties attempting to allow Village staff remote access to work
capabilities and has had no opportunity to assist in this request.   The
Village of Ridgewood offices are closing at the end of business today and
we will open again on April 6^th.  I will be working remotely and will do
my best to provide the remaining documents to you from that location.  If
that is not successful, I will provide them when the offices open again.

 

Donna M. Jackson

Deputy Village Clerk

Village of Ridgewood

131 N. Maple Avenue

Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Phone:  201 670-5500 x 205

Fax:  201 652-7623

 

Notice: You are advised that copies of correspondence, including e-mail
correspondence and attachments, between the public and the Village of
Ridgewood are obtainable by any person filing a request under the Open
Public Records Act (OPRA) unless subject to a specific OPRA exception.
There should be no expectation that the content of emails exchanged
between the public and municipal officials and employees will remain
private.     

As the petitioner in the matter described in my March 2, 2020 request, the "partial" records you've provided 12 business days later do not provide any new information. Providing me with documents that I personally filed and are already in my possession is not useful. Please provide those public records that were not created and/or filed by me.

Donna Jackson, Ridgewood Village

The Village of Ridgewood offices will be closed as of Friday, March 20th
and will open again on Monday, April 6th.  I will be checking emails while
out of the office and will do my best to respond.  All OPRA requests will
be processed the date the Village offices re-open.

Dear Ridgewood Village,
My request is long overdue. Despite COVID-19 other municipalities are responding to OPRA requests within a reasonable time and in considerably less time than Ridgewood.
Please provide a date when the requested records will be available.
Sincerely,
William Sosis

Donna Jackson, Ridgewood Village

William

 

Previously, we forwarded documents to you in response to the OPRA Request
received by the Village Clerk’s Office and advised that when our offices
re-opened, we would complete our search.  Our IT Administrator has
completed a search of the Village server to further assist in the response
and has informed us that there are no additional document to provide
regarding this topic.  Therefore, I must advise you that we have no
additional documents to provide in response to your OPRA Request.  We will
regard this OPRA Request as closed and our obligation satisfied.

 

Donna M. Jackson

Deputy Village Clerk

Village of Ridgewood

131 N. Maple Avenue

Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Phone:  201 670-5500 x 205

Fax:  201 652-7623

 

Notice: You are advised that copies of correspondence, including e-mail
correspondence and attachments, between the public and the Village of
Ridgewood are obtainable by any person filing a request under the Open
Public Records Act (OPRA) unless subject to a specific OPRA exception.
There should be no expectation that the content of emails exchanged
between the public and municipal officials and employees will remain
private.