A two-year battle over Camden-Wyoming Sewer & Water Authority's financial records came to an end Monday as the authority's Board of Directors released information about its employees' compensation on its web site.
The release came two weeks after Delaware Superior Court Judge Robert Young ruled that the CWSWA was subject to the state's Freedom of Information Act laws and must make public information about its employees' salary, overtime and benefits.
What's been said The Superior Court's Nov. 7 decision resulted from a lawsuit Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden filed to compel the CWSWA to comply with FOIA. Biden filed suit in Kent County Superior Court in August 2011 after the authority denied Wyoming Town Councilwoman/Kent County Comptroller Georgette Williams' requests for employee salary, overtime and benefits information while raising concerns over the authority's water and sewer rates.
CWSWA twice refused to comply with Williams' FOIA requests, even after the General Assembly passed legislation in the spring of 2011 to force the authority to hand over documents and records because of its status as a public body.
In his ruling this month, Young said Delaware law "strongly supports" the disclosure of salary information and CWSWA has a statutory duty to maintain and disclose financial records.
What's next The CWSWA released information about employee compensation on its website Monday, noting "the only salaried person at the Camden-Wyoming Sewer and Water Authority is the superintendent with 33 years of employment with the authority." Superintendent Harold Scott was paid $84,995 in 2011, according to the release.
The information also included the various job titles within the authority and the wages they were paid in 2011, including overtime.
Mark Dyer, chairman of the CWSWA's Board of Directors, maintained that due to the authority's not-for-profit status and the fact that it is not funded through tax-payer dollars, board members did not believe they were required to release employee salary records.
"We were never trying to hide something," Dyer said. "The intent was to protect individuals' privacy. Nobody wants their W2 in the hands of someone else. Collectively, we wanted to protect the interest of the employees."
Dyer said the Board chose not to appeal the Superior Court ruling because it wanted to comply with the order.
"The court ruling was that we are subject to FOIA, so we are going to put the information out there for everyone," he said.
Williams, who was on vacation with her family this week, told the Dover Post she was happy the CWSWA decided to comply with the request. She said she plans to run a comparison on the salary figures when she returns from vacation next week.
Williams said her original intent was to obtain answers on the high sewer and water rates charged to CWSWA customers.
Page 2 of 2 - "We have a lot of people on fixed incomes in that area," she said. "The rates are very high, and we needed to know why."