'Secret' Emails OPRA Request Denied By District
Citizen-activist said he 'absolutely' will appeal the decision.
After a months-long wait to get a ruling on whether he can have access to reportedly secret emails distributed by a Board of Education member, citizen-activist Robert Crawford finally got his answer: No.
In a letter from Interim Schools Business Administrator Mark Resnick denying Crawford's Open Public Records Act request, he said that the office reviewed emails sent from the private address of BOE member Anthony Mancuso to other school board members and Superintendent LeRoy Seitz on Feb. 5, 2011, March 11, 2011, and Nov. 9, 2011, and determined that they are "not government records pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1."
Crawford also requested emails from Jan 14, March 8, May 24, June 4 and June 26 of this year that contained subject lines including the words in the "Recap; Emergency ReCap and/or Special Meeting Recap." According to Resnick, no emails from those dates exist in the district archive.
Crawford, a former BOE member, said he will continue his quest to obtain copies of the emails he believes exist.
"There will be an appeal so that we can better understand why Mr. Resnick has determined that the emails I requested are not 'government records,'" he told Patch. "I would also like to understand if Mr. Resnick made this determination on his own or if he consulted others for their opinions and what if anything those consultations cost the school district. Finally, I would like to understand why Mr. Resnick is able to locate three documents and none of the others."
Crawford would not say whether he has seen copies of the documents he is requesting or how such copies might have been obtained. He has said that he suspects information from closed-door school board sessions were discussed in the emails.
Board member Michael Strumolo stated his support for Crawford's email hunt at the school board's Oct. 15 meeting.
President Frank Calabria said that night that he did not know what may have been discussed or by whom in the emails Crawford seeks.
Board attorney Kathleen Gilfillan also said she was not aware of the rumored emails' content.
Mancuso has not commented publicly on the matter.