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Saturday, May 14, 2011

"I requested the town attorney to do this"...

that's what Supervisor Tyksinski said after Concerned Citizens co-founder, Catherine Lawrence, read a prepared statement to the town board at Wednesday evening's town board meeting.

Supervisor Tyksinski even went so far as to again state that Robert Freeman, Executive Director of the Committee on Open Government, told Attorney Cully that they do not have to give us anything that is already available on the town website even though he was well aware that Concerned Citizens also contacted Robert Freeman who denied ever saying that to the town attorney.

In fact, by searching on on the web, we found a 2007 decision from Robert Freeman's office, that says in part: requested a “file containing information about all mortgages and deeds filed in the City during the immediate past year.” For more than a decade, the City has maintained an electronic file of such information and has provided it in response to yearly requests from your company, Genesis Computer Consultants, Inc. This year, in response to your request, the Department denied your request and indicated: “... we believe that posting information on our Web site constitutes reasonable compliance with our obligation to make our records ‘available for public inspection and copying’.” You further indicated that “[s]uch data is of little or no use to you unless you have access to the entire file electronically so that you can make lists of various sorts and make comparisons of sets of data.” It is our opinion that if the Department continues to have the ability to make one year’s worth of data available to you in an electronic file, it is required to do so. [emphasis added]
If asked for the assessments on a cd and we are willing to pay for the cd, the town is required to provide the cd to exactly what Robert Freeman told us when we contacted him last week and exactly what Robert Freeman told us he conveyed to the town attorney when the town attorney contacted him last week.

Here is the portion of the meeting where Ms. Lawrence read her statement and Supervisor Tyksinski responded:

When an elected official starts trying to take away citizens' rights by twisting the FOI Law to suit their own desire to keep information from the public, it is time to re-examine whether they are the person for the job. The fact that the town attorney was involved makes it even more reason for concern.

But wait, that is not all that went on at this meeting. More to follow...


Perry Mason said...

Uh oh. You made T mad.

::QUESTION:: Why is the town attorney setting policy? Isn't he supposed to only talk about legal issues?

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Lawrence,

I thought your comments to the New Hartford Town Board was vey professional.

However, Mr. Tyksinski's remarks to you was demeaning and a display of a bully mentality.

New Hartford, N.Y. Online said...

Supervisor Tyksinski was reacting to something he didn't want to hear. Let's face it, both he and Attorney Cully knew they were wrong and they both knew that I was scheduled to speak before the town board.

What they didn't know is that I was not going to just accept a second copy of the cd just prior to the town board meeting and then let them get away with what they did. The words I spoke were well thought out and needed to be said.

It is my hope and the hope of Concerned Citizens that they will think twice before they ever try to use the FOI Law against another town citizen.

The law is there for a reason.

Anonymous said...

Why is Cully sitting at the same table as the Town Board members? He is NOT an elected offical. We need to re-look the role of the Town Attorney. Right now he acts like the Town Supervisor enforcer. Other times, Mr. Cully appears to take over the town board meetings.

New Hartford, N.Y. Online said...

Attorney Cully is sitting there at the request of the town supervisor. Other town attorneys have been asked to sit at the table too. Perhaps it makes it easier to discuss legal issues as they arise.

What is most difficult to understand is why an attorney would twist the law just because the town supervisor told him to.

We would like to think that there is a higher duty to uphold the law than to support his long-time friend's wishes to twist the law. The fact that, as an attorney, he chose his long-time friend is most troubling.

It will be difficult for Concerned Citizens to ever trust his word again which is very unfortunate for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Ed, Cathy, with all of this discussion of Herb Cully, I think you should post that clip of Mr. Cully denying a town resident access to the town board members and then told this same resident that if he didn't like it he could take the town to court. Very inappropriate of Mr. Cully! I think this happened at a town board meeting back in early October.

Anonymous said...

So much for public comment. "Don't argue with me, Cathy! Hahahahahaha, what a dweeb!