PERTH AMBOY, NJ–Do you know what information you have a right to get from your elected officials and your government?
One group based in the area is aiming to educate the public about their rights under New Jersey's laws when it comes to obtaining public records, and attending, recording, or participating in public meetings.
The New Jersey Foundation for Open Government (NJFOG), a statewide organization since 2001 with the sole mission of holding government bodies at all levels accountable for maintaining full transparency with their residents, will hold a free forum on Tuesday, September 20.
Attendees – who will have the option of joining the NJFOG at the event – are encouraged to bring questions to the forum, which will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 228 High Street.
“Come learn about the laws that provide public access to government records and meetings and that allow citizens greater insight into the operations of state and local governments in New Jersey,” organizers said in an announcement.
“This is a rare opportunity to meet and talk with acclaimed open government advocate John Paff, who will be speaking along with attorney Walter Luers.”
The OPMA (Open Public Meetings Act) ensures that residents have the right to be “present at all meetings of public bodies, and to witness in full detail all phases of the deliberation, policy formulation, and decision making of public bodies.”
Similarly, the OPRA (Open Public Records Act) states “government records shall be readily accessible for inspection, copying, or examination by the citizens...with certain exceptions, for the protection of the public interest.”
Paff, a graduate of Rutgers New Brunswick, has been the Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party’s Open Government Advocacy Project since 2003.
His efforts to continue equipping New Jersey residents with the tools they need to be influential citizens has earned him a number of accolades including being the sole inductee into the State Open Government Freedom of Information Hall of Fame in 2014.