On June 11, 2007, we received a denial letter from the Town Clerk’s office citing a case that had absolutely no merit in regards to our request.
On July 2, 2007, we submitted an appeal to the Town Board because our FOIL request was denied.
On July 11, 2007, at the regular Town Board Meeting, 4 members of the Town Board approved giving us the assessment disk in accordance with Opinions of Counsel from both the Committee On Open Government and the Office of Real Property Services (ORPS), determining that we were legally within our rights to obtain a copy of the assessment database.
One member, Councilman Robert A. Payne, Ward 1, vehemently said “no” when asked for his vote by the Town Clerk. See Councilman Robert A. Payne, III.
On Thursday, July 12, 2007, we were informed by the Town Clerk that the Assessor was advised to provide us with a copy of the assessment database.
Today, Monday, July 16, 2007, we were advised that the assessor has stated he will make the copy available to us by Wednesday, July 18, 2007.
It is our opinion that 3 things may be at play:
The town board’s word is questionable. Even though 4 of 5 members are on record as approving the request, they are not prepared to see to it that town personnel follow their directives in a timely manner.
Councilman Robert A. Payne, III thinks his one (1) "nay" vote trumps the (4) "aye" votes. Councilman Payne is on the Assessment Standing Committee and perhaps due to his vindictive manner, he is ill-advising the Town Assessor.
The Town Assessor is guilty of insubordination and should be reprimanded for failing to comply with a directive of the Town Board in a timely fashion. Our FOIL request has been "open" since May 2, 2007!
Take your pick of the explanation; however, none of the above describes an honest and open government. Making a copy of the assessment database is not rocket science--it is a matter of choosing an option from a menu in the RPS program used by the Assessor's office.