Mercer County Prosecutor Criticizes Trenton Clerk and City Council Regarding Tardy Minutes of Meetings

Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini, Jr. has told the Trenton City Clerk that minutes of city council meetings must be made available to the public promptly.

“It has recently come to our attention that the Office of the City Clerk has not made available to the public written minutes of the Trenton City Council meetings for a substantial period of time,” Bocchini wrote in a March 27 letter to the Clerk.

Bocchini has requested that the clerk provide his office with a timetable listing when written minutes from meetings will be complete and available to the public.

Citing the state’s Open Public Meetings Act, Bocchini said the  minutes must be made available to the public within two weeks.

The letter from Bocchini is unusual. It is not often that a prosecutor steps in to enforce the Open Public Meetings Act. The letter is available online on the website of New Jersey open government advocate John Paff. Open government advocates like Paff hope the letter will set a precedent and encourage other prosecutors to enforce the Sunshine law.