Vernon works to release records

| 22 Feb 2012 | 08:04

    Judge tells township to make information public; council is one step ahead Vernon — A judge on Tuesday denied some claims and upheld others from a Sparta man who’d sued Vernon Township for more immediate access to minutes from past executive council sessions. The suit, filed on Jan. 26 by Jesse Wolosky sought the release of minutes dating back five years. Executive sessions are closed to the public but the law requires that afterward, minutes must be made public. A municipal body, however, has the right to redact or black out information it deems sensitive personnel information. Vernon had been remiss in preparing its executive session minutes for public release, but with a new staff had undertaken the task in recent months, according to its clerk Robin Kline. Wolosky’s suit claimed that under the Open Public Records Act, he had a right to the information. He claimed that Vernon had violated the Act. Vernon’s response, filed on Feb. 20, cited the fact that the township had begun to correct its backlog of unreleased executive session minutes and had in fact turned over to Wolosky minutes from August 2003 up to Aug. 14, 2008. The township’s lawyer Michael D. Witt explained that Judge B. Theodore Bozonelis denied Wolosky’s claims for past minutes, but found in favor of his demand for executive session minutes from Aug. 14, 2008 onward. As it happens, the past minutes had been provided at the council’s Feb. 26 meeting, which was the soonest the work could be done, Witt said. “We don’t have a problem with the ruling; that’s what we were going to do anyway,” Witt said. In addition the judge had ordered Vernon to create a law that will provide for a more rapid release of executive session minutes, Witt said. “I had it with me and showed them.” Wolosky’s attorney Walter M. Luers of Oxford said he had no comment on the suit.