Town May Add Staff for Records Requests
Teaneck has received an "inordinate" amount of public records requests, town manager says.
Teaneck may be forced to add staff to deal with what officials said is a flood of public records requests that must be processed by the town clerk's office.
Township Clerk Jaime Evelina said her office alone receives 10 to 20 requests a day under the state's Open Public Records Act. That number, she said, does not include requests made to other departments.
"Every department is impacted," said Evelina.
One request took eight hours for a staffer to process, according to Township Manager William Broughton, who said the town has faced an "inordinate" amount of records requests.
New Jersey law gives the public the right to request a range of government information and requires officials to respond within seven business days.
Broughton said he wasn't yet asking to increase the clerk's staffing, but it might be necessary to comply with the state's seven-day deadline. The township clerk now works with two assistants.
The cost of the potential new staff member was not yet known.
Some residents, however, countered that they wouldn't have to file public requests if the information was posted on the town website.
"If the documents were on the website, nobody would be OPRA-ing them," resident Thomas Abbott said in a report on northjersey.com.
Frequent council critic Charles Powers, the husband of former Councilwoman Barbara Toffler who has filed several requests, agreed the clerk needed more staff and said he only made the requests out of an interest in government transparency, according to the report.