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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dear Mr. Doug Preston,

Since you ask so many questions in today's Observer Dispatch Letter to the Editor, let us start by identifying who YOU are in relation to the New Hartford Public Library.

Your wife has a very nice job at the library and has been videotaped heckling Mr. Wiatr at library board meetings. We've even had to ask her to please be quiet because of the disruption she has caused during library board meetings. Could it be that you have an axe to grind?

Now that we have that out of the way, we'll respond to your questions.

Does this group have any other members besides Cathy Lawrence and Edmund Wiatr?

Do you really believe that two people could be as effective as Concerned Citizens has been over the past six (6) years?  Really?

Have they actually read all the contents of those boxes full of FOILed documents?

You bet your bippy we have!  Furthermore, all those documents are very nicely filed so that we can put our hands on them in a moments notice. We are very organized.

How many hours have civil servants spent digging through files to find and copy FOILed items, time they would otherwise be doing the business of we the people of New Hartford?

Mr. Preston, if the town has spent hours digging through their files, then shame on them! The town has a Records Management Officer who should have a handle on every town record and each department has the responsibility of seeing that their records are available to the Records Management Officer.

As for the library, we've been told by key members of the library board that their files are stored in many places to include the basement of the old Point School, the New Hartford Public Library and even some library board members' homes so it's quite possible that they may have to dig through files...not our problem.

About a year ago, there was also an update to the FOI Law that states that every document discussed at board meetings should either be available before [on the web] or at the meeting so that attendees are able to follow along as these civil servants discuss the people's business; therefore, there shouldn't be a need for us to FOIL current records.

Unfortunately, this new FOIL ruling isn't being followed for the most part. But we, as well as others, have a right to FOIL documents to shine sunlight on the job our elected and appointed officials are doing.

Who pays for those boxes full of photocopies?

Actually, up until the time that the town finally admitted that they have a scanner, which was during the Earle Reed administration, we paid $.25 a page. Now, as allowed under the FOI Law, we request all documents electronically. Any printing is done on our own paper with our own printers.

How would a complete, unedited video transcript of a public meeting compare with what the Concerned Citizens post?

Mr. Preston, anytime you would like a complete, unedited video transcript, drop us a line at Concerned Citizens. We will be happy to provide one at no cost.

Most people don't want to sit and watch an entire meeting. If you are implying that we nefariously edit the video to make someone look bad; be careful. Ever heard of defamation? Don't say something you can't back up with fact.

We have no desire to edit our video to make people look bad or distort the truth. Anyone who looks bad on our videos does it all on their own.

The article suggests a mildly adversarial relationship between the Concerned Citizens and Town Supervisor Pat Tyksinski. Yet it was Tyksinski who appointed the Concerned Citizens’ Ed Wiatr to the New Hartford Public Library board. The O-D has touched upon the relationship between Wiatr and the rest of that board in the past and it might be a fit subject for further research.

Research on, Mr. Preston! Research on!

I certainly favor honesty and transparency in government at all levels. But we should expect no less from watchdog groups.

Mr. Preston, honesty and transparency? You failed to mention your wife's job at the library before you started your little diatribe!

Have we been honest enough in answering your questions, Mr. Preston?

Got more questions, Mr. Preston? Just send us an email...Concerned Citizens.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Lets see if you hear from Mr Preston.

Anonymous said...

Roy Senn received his 15 minutes of was only time before another yo-yo wanted his.

I wonder just how many hours of volunteer work Mr. Preston would put in (if he is even capable)of performing a public service.

Anonymous said...

Is this guy for real?

Without FOIL laws Mr. Preston, small governments and taxing authorities tend to do stupid things, like take care of themselves first. Making accurate records available tends to embarrass stupid leaders. And you have a problem with resident citizens asking for paperwork?

Aren't you the history guru? Well, here's a historical comment on the subject from long-dead US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis:

Sunshine is the best disinfectant.