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“Potential Litigation” Misuse Of Closed Session

A reader asked me to have a look at this, specifically the questions from June 3, 2002 and May 14, 2001.

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Almost any action a public body takes has the potential for litigation.  For such a body to go into closed session, the law requires there be a “specific identifiable litigation matter” that needs to be discussed.

There wasn’t.

I just re-watched the last few minutes of the June 3 meeting tape before they went into closed session.  They were about to pass an unpopular ordinance and were afraid it would be petitioned against.  The words “potential” or “litigation” were never spoken by Brian Magovern, who originally requested the closed session, or by anyone else.  Looking at the tape, it seems to me like the mayor wanted to pretend he had some agreement that the bundled bond ordinance wouldn’t be opposed and wanted to hurry up and pass it, but that Magovern had some doubts and wanted to talk to the mayor privately about it.  None of this has anything at all to do with what closed sessions are designed for.

There was no litigation surrounding the bundled bond the night they passed it (after their closed session.)  There is no litigation now.  That meeting should never had been closed and therefore the minutes should have no protection from public disclosure.


  1. Teddy Ehmann wrote:

    3 words Dave: Water, LUERS, ATTORNEY

    Saturday, September 5, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Permalink
  2. Cathi wrote:

    Has the answer as to why the mayor recuses
    himself during water discussions ever been given?

    Sunday, September 6, 2015 at 8:23 am | Permalink
  3. admin wrote:

    Jersey American Water is one of Maggie’s clients.

    Sunday, September 6, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

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