Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pending Litigation...an Update

We blogged about it a few days ago. Highway Superintendent Roger Cleveland seemed to not be able to fully explain his request for an Executive Session at the December 12, 2007 town board meeting and when Concerned Citizens asked the Town Clerk, she said she couldn't seem to make heads or tails out of his explanation either.

So we decided to email the Town Clerk for further information. We received an email back that said:

Refer to Page 26 of the Dec 12, 2007 Town Board minutes - The Resolution authorizing the Executive Session lists the reasons - the Highway Supt's was the potential litigation under a contract with the New York Susquehanna & Western Railroad.

and the minutes reflect that the Highway Superintendent remained for the Executive Session.
Yep, they sure do:

EXECUTIVE SESSION
Councilman Payne introduced the following Resolution for adoption and Councilwoman Krupa seconded same:


(RESOLUTION NO. 314 OF 2007)


RESOLVED that the New Hartford Town Board does hereby move to enter into an Executive Session to discuss on-going union negotiations for the Parks and Recreation Department and to discuss potential litigation under a contract with the New York Susquehanna & Western Railroad.

A roll call vote ensued:

Councilwoman Krupa - Aye
Councilman Reynolds - Aye
Councilman Woodland - Aye
Councilman Payne - Aye
Supervisor Reed - Aye.

Thereafter, the Resolution was declared unanimously carried and duly adopted. All persons present, including the news media and Town Clerk, were then excused from the meeting at 6:43 P.M. The Personnel Technician, Highway Superintendent and Attorney Green remained for the Executive Session.
So three people plus the five (5) town board members remained and there were two reasons for executive session...so it must be that everyone should guess who was there and for what purpose. Sort of like the old tv show "What's My Line?"

And what would be so difficult about Highway Superintendent Roger Cleveland saying or the Town Clerk understanding the words "potential litigation under a contract with the New York Susquehanna & Western Railroad." Did he need time to think up a "legal" reason for the executive session?

You see, here's the thing, the Open Meeting Law says that:

"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"
Operative words..."to validly convene"...that means that they are supposed to disclose the information BEFORE they enter into Executive Session, not two plus weeks later when they make the board minutes available. What part of Open Meeting Law don't they understand!

And what about Town Attorney Green? Since he was in attendance at that meeting, wouldn't you think he would remind them that they have to disclose executive session discussions in compliance with the Open Meeting Law...for that matter as an attorney wouldn't you think he would insist that the town board abides by the law?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been following,for about a year,the bloggs as if it was a daily soap opera. My question, or comment is...isn't someone other than this group seeing this. Why isn't someone auditing things, if there are violations, who cares enough to verify...These bloggs should be enough to get a rise out of someone.....