CMTV’s OPRA request for daily reports delayed by nine business days (and Brennan mystery)

Written by Jeff Epstein, Editor of Citizens’ Media TV

On Saturday, October 28th, Citizens’ Media TV submitted a records (OPRA) request to Pinelands Regional School District, for the following items, all of which is specified in the roofing contract:

  • All special reports from the construction company that are not already listed on the Health and safety website (for the entire duration of the project)
  • All daily “construction” reports (from July 15 through the present)
  • All daily “field quality control” reports (from July 15 through the present)

(The full request, which is verbose because clarifications were requested, is at the bottom of this article.)

The OPRA law provides public entities seven business days to respond. The seventh business day for this request was Tuesday, November 7th. This happened to the same day that District administrator Stephen Brennan, who is also the records custodian for the district, was supposedly escorted out by police, placed administrative leave, and his computer confiscated. Although in our previous requests (of which there were perhaps more than fifteen so far) Brennan generally took the full seven days to respond, he never requested an extension or failed to meet deadlines on our previous requests.

Yesterday, we posted this screenshot from Interim Superintendent Maryann Banks. Although a day late, Banks stated that Brennan “is not acting as the Board’s Records Custodian” and that former acting superintendent Cheryl Stevenson has been assigned as the “Acting Records Custodian.” Banks also stated that the district will require an extension until November 20 in order to fufill the request. This is particularly because of school being closed on November 9th and 10th for the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) teacher’s convention being held in Atlantic City.

Finally, despite the rumors about Brennan’s being removed from regular duty, we have so far found no definitive evidence to support this. The only exceptions are that he is no longer the records custodian, and the fact that he missed our OPRA deadline.

On Tuesday, we sent an email to Mr. Brennan which was bounced back to us as undeliverable. However, on the afternoon of October 9th, he is still listed on the district website, his phone still is accepting messages, and his email is now responding with a “vacation/out of office” message.

Full request and responses, in order

On Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 10:12 AM, Jeff Epstein wrote:
Hello, Mr. Brennan.

This is a request for public records in accordance with the Open Public Records Act and the common law right of access. I certify under penalty of perjury that I have not been convicted of a crime anywhere in the United States.

Three requests for you today:
– Please provide a copy of all special reports submitted to the district by the construction company for the current roofing project.
– Please provide all daily reports, starting on July 15 through the present.
– Please provide the letter or correspondence to epic environmental informing them that their services would no longer be needed.

Please provide all responsive documents in digital form and email them to citizensmediatv@gmail.com .

Thank you.

Jeff
jeff_epstein@yahoo.com

Co-founder and Editor of Citizens’ Media TV:
http://citizensmedia.tv
http://facebook.com/ CitizensMediaTV
http://twitter.com/ CitizensMediaTV
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From: Citizens’ Media TV
Date: Sat, Oct 28, 2017 at 2:24 PM
Subject: OPRA request clarifications
To: Steve Brennan

Hello Mr. Brennan. And your October 26, 2017 response to previous OPRA requests, you said the following:

> 1. “Please provide a copy of all special reports submitted to the district by the construction company for the current roofing project.”
> – I refer you to the following link containing several special reports related to the Pinelands Regional roofproject
> http://www.pinelandsregional.org/health-and-safety
> If you require additional or different information, please provide more clarification of your request.

I am referring to the special reports as specified in the contract under item 2.4.A and B in section 01310. Please provide all special reports in the district’s possession, that are not already available on the health-and-safety website as mentioned above.

Below is the full text from relevant section in the contract:

—–
2.4 SPECIAL REPORTS

A. General: Submit special reports directly to Owner within one day(s) of an occurrence. Distribute copies of report to parties affected by the occurrence.

B. Reporting Unusual Events: When an event of an unusual and significant nature occurs at Project site, whether or not related directly to the Work, prepare and submit a special report. List chain of events, persons participating, response by Contractor’s personnel, evaluation of results or effects, and similar pertinent information. Advise Owner in advance when these events are known or predictable.
—–

> 2. “Please provide all daily reports, starting on July 15 through the present”
> – I respectfully request more clarification (i.e. reports issued by whom/to whom, name of report, etc.)

Sure.

There are two kinds of daily reports specified in the contract. The first is under letter F in section 01300:

—–
F. Daily Construction Reports: The General Contractor shall prepare a daily report recording events at the site and submit copies to the Architect on a monthly basis or upon request.
—–

The second is under 3.10.A in section 07552:

—–
3.10 FIELD QUALITY CONTROL

A. The Contractor shall employ and pay for a qualified third party inspection agent for daily inspection work for this project, 5 clays per week minimum. A daily report shall be submitted to the Owner, Architect and Warranty manufacturer for their records.
—–

I am asking for both kinds of daily reports (construction and field quality control), starting on July 15 and through the present.

Finally, I would also like to request all electronic and postal correspondence between the district and Epic Environmental between September 10th and October 15th.

To summarize. Please provide:

1. all special reports that are not already on the website.
2. all construction daily reports from July 15 to the present.
3. all field quality control daily reports from July 15 to the present.
4. all electronic and postal correspondence between the district and Epic Environmental starting on September 10th through October 15th.

Please provide all responsive documents in digital form and email them to citizensmediatv@gmail.com .

If you would be kind enough to either put these responses in separate PDFs, or very clearly mark or specify which pages refer to which requests, it would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Jeff Epstein
citizensmediatv@gmail.com

Co-founder and Editor of Citizens’ Media TV:
http://citizensmedia.tv
http://facebook.com/CitizensMediaTV
http://twitter.com/CitizensMediaTV
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