the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, in Glen Rock a OPRA lawsuit in 2018 ,”a Glen Rock resident named Timothy Larkin claimed he was “banned” from participating in a public dialogue on Councilman Skip Huisking’s Facebook page, which Huisking called an “official” page of Huisking’s, where the councilman conducts official government business.
On April 10, Larkin filed a lawsuit against the Borough of Glen Rock, and Borough Clerk Jackie Scalia, for denying an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request for access to the list of Facebook accounts blocked or removed by Glen Rock mayor Bruce Packer and all members of the Borough Council. The suit is focusing on the public Facebook pages maintained by the mayor and council members, and not their personal Facebook pages.
The lawsuits focus seems to focus on if the “official” Facebook page is in fact “official ” Glen Rock Business . http://ridgewoodblog.net/glen-rock-lawsuit-when-is-a-facebook-page-an-official-facebook-page/
The judge eventually ruled that public officials’ social media accounts are subject to public record disclosure laws, Superior Court Judge Bonnie Mizdol ruled in June that such a list is a government record. While opened and maintained by the council members themselves, the judge noted, the accounts reflect their status as elected officials and are “designed for the sole purpose of posting information regarding official business of the borough.”
“Duly elected council members control the content of what they post and hold the ability, through blocking other Facebook users, including the plaintiff, from access to their Facebook pages and from participating in the interactive conversations occurring on those Facebook pages focused entirely on the official business of the Borough of Glen Rock; thus, subjecting those Facebook pages to OPRA,” the judge’s decision read.
Last night at the Village Council meeting in public comments Rurik Halaby presented a Facebook book post by Councilmen Voight on “cost overruns” on the Schedler house and challenged its historical significance ,which the state of New Jersey vouched for in 2014 long before the present council. Later in the evening Boyd Loving brought up the Glen Rock lawsuit pointing out that many residents are blocked from Councilman Voigt’s Facebook page perhaps putting him in violation of state law.
Mayor Hache said and we paraphrase If a Facebook page is used to communicate with the public it must be open to the public. He also referenced the Village of Ridgewood Code of Conduct which lists does and don’ts for social media.