Thursday, January 18, 2007

psst! Mr. Reed....

According to my sources, it is not sufficient to just say you are going into executive session to discuss Preswick. You need to say exactly what it is you are going to discuss regarding Preswick--current, proposed or pending litigation would be your only choices. Which one was it?

Otherwise, Mr. Reed, you may not have an acceptable reason for the "closed door" meeting. You might want to tuck that piece of information in your pocket because if it was an illegal meeting, residents can file an article 78 against the town to have any actions voted on as a result of that meeting voided.

Just thought you should know the facts according to the Open Meetings law. Shall I write to Robert Freeman from the Committee on Open Government to get his "official" opinion, Mr. Reed?

Update after reading the January 19th edition of the Observer Dispatch:

Mr. Reed, according to the Friday, January 19th Observer Dispatch editorial, they have already contacted Mr. Freeman for us. Not about the Town of New Hartford executive session, but still the same law applies, and I quote from the Observer Dispatch editorial:

"When moving for executive session, the motion must provide adequate information to let the public know the board has a legitimate reason for going behind closed doors. Merely stating "personnel" isn't good enough, says Robert Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government."

Nor is merely stating "to discuss Preswick" Mr. Reed. By the way, want to let us know if any resolutions were passed after the meeting since it will probably take at least 2 months before we get to see the minutes of the January 17th meeting? It is my understanding that you cannot pass any resolutions to expend public monies in executive session. You must re-convene the public portion of the meeting. I suppose a call to the Town Clerk should answer that question though.

And is your meeting next week to discuss Preswick open to the public?

From today's Observer Dispatch:

"The Town Board will meet again within a week with the school district and county officials to further discuss Preswick Glen, officials said."

I believe you will need to call a Special Board meeting that is open to the public, properly identify the purpose of the executive session and then vote "in the public view" before you can legally conduct an executive meeting, Mr. Reed. And since you already know that you are meeting and therefore it doesn't qualify as an "emergency" meeting, I would guess that we will see notice in the Observer Dispatch as to when the Special Town Board meeting will be held so in case any residents want to attend?

The law is there for a reason, Mr. Reed!

No comments: