Since its enactment in 2002 the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) has faced many challenges and rulings that have changed the way the statute has been applied and enforced. With the advent of new technologies impacting the way records are stored and managed new problems and issues are surfacing that raise serious questions regarding what constitutes a “public record.” This course will take a look at these issues and the some of the new case law and decisions that are affecting the way records are provided. It will also take a look into the new and emerging technologies that will impact how we provide records in the future.
Course Objectives. Participants will: 1) Discuss OPRA’s definition of a record and gain a better understanding of the Legislature’s intent at the time of the Law’s inception along with New Jersey’s records management requirements and the various jurisdictions that have oversight of open public records, retention and disposal schedules; 2) Survey how ensuing rulings and findings began reshaping our understanding of the act as technologies and new record security challenges impacted how records should be stored, managed, safeguarded and provided; 3) Discuss the serious challenges faced by understaffed local governments that have part- time or non-existent IT departments and learn methods to improve their ability to reduce risks and prevent vulnerabilities; 4) Understand the importance of confidentiality and the benefits, risks and vulnerabilities of storing, securing and providing public access to records online; 5) Contemplate the future of OPRA in dealing with growing issues related to new technologies that challenge our understanding of records classifications; and 6) Review and renew their ethical pledges as government officers and employees charged with the responsibility of managing and safeguarding the public’s records in the delicate balance between transparency and privacy.
Dave Nenno Ethics Law Consulting Services: Ethics training and professional development seminars. 1976-2010 NJ State Department of Community Affairs, Division of Local Government Services, Local Finance Board (retired); and Joe Adams CEUnion Consultant/Instructor, CIO at Kanda DMF Inc, Bucks County Community College Continuing Ed Instructor
Breakfast starts at 8:30AM and class begins at 9:00AM till 1:00P