When the Town Clerk asked Roger to be more specific than "pending litigation", Roger mumbled something to the Town Clerk. After the meeting, Concerned Citizens asked for clarification because we couldn't hear what Roger said. The Town Clerk said she didn't understand his explanation either, but she would get further information and let us know.
Well according to the December 12, 2007 Approved Town Board Minutes, the town clerk must not have received any further explanation because the town board minutes say:
Executive SessionPending litigation without further explanation is NOT an acceptable reason to convene an executive session; Roger Cleveland has been Highway Superintendent long enough to know that! As we previously wrote:
The Highway Superintendent has a pending litigation matter for Executive Session.
According to the Committee on Open Government...possible litigation is not acceptable:It is a shame that the Town of New Hartford keeps putting up their middle finger to the taxpayers...apparently they haven't taken notice of the lawsuit that was won in the Towns of Warren and Stark. The Town of New Hartford Town Board is even arrogant enough to approve town board minutes that specifically defy the Open Meetings Law.
With regard to the sufficiency of a motion to discuss litigation, it has been held that:"It is insufficient to merely regurgitate the statutory language; to wit, 'discussions regarding proposed, pending or current litigation'. This boilerplate recitation does not comply with the intent of the statute. To validly convene an executive session for discussion of proposed, pending or current litigation, the public body must identify with particularity the pending, proposed or current litigation to be discussed during the executive session" [Daily Gazette Co. , Inc. v. Town Board, Town of Cobleskill, 44 NYS 2d 44, 46 (1981), emphasis added by court].
By the way, a videotape of the December 28, 2007 town board meeting is online; the January 9, 2008 town board meeting will be online by Saturday evening. All town board meetings will now be videotaped...