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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Have something you want to say to the New Hartford town board?

Better make sure to register with the town clerk for a time slot!!

Last night we learned that there is no more time agenda time allotted for residents’ comments unless you sign up with the town clerk prior to the meeting...although we're not sure what the cut-off time  to sign up might be...before the agenda is prepared on Friday preceding the meeting or right up until the start of the meeting.

After last night's town board meeting, we checked with the town clerk. She said she was aware that the organizational resolutions had been changed (she is the person who prepares the organizational resolutions in consultation with the town supervisor), but she had no idea that people had to register with her if they wanted to speak. She said she would talk to the Supervisor in the morning.

We checked with one of the councilmen; he had no idea of the change even though all councilmen voted on accepting the updated organizational resolutions at the January 8, 2014 organizational meeting. Guess the councilmen merely voted for the organizational resolutions with no idea of what is in them!

After we got home, a quick check of the organizational resolutions in the 2013 town board minutes compared against the 2014 organizational resolutions showed that agenda item #3, Consideration of Public Presentations, was indeed omitted from the Order of Business portion of the organizational resolutions.

The decision to eliminate public speaking apparently was a unilateral decision of the town supervisor who counted on the lack of attention of the town board to get it approved.

And, apparently he must have forgot to make the Deputy Supervisor aware that there is no longer a time allotted for the public to address the town board because when Tyksinski was absent from the April 23, 2014 town board meeting, the Deputy Supervisor was videotaped saying:

Don’t like the new rule? Sign in with the town clerk for permission to address the board at the June 11th town board meeting, unless the town clerk and supervisor come up with another plan after their tête-à-tête this morning!


Anonymous said...

If the Town Board doesn't change this, then they are just as guilty as the Supervisor in stupidity.

Anonymous said...

This what Bob Freeman, who you often refer to as The Expert on open meeting law has said, "... while the Open Meetings Law clearly provides any member of the public with the right to attend meetings of public bodies (i.e., town boards), that statute is silent with respect to the ability of the public to speak or otherwise participate. Therefore, if a public body does not want to permit the public to speak, it is not obliged to confer such a privilege. However, public bodies may choose to permit public participation and many do so." There is nothing incorrect in the town board's decision to limit public participation, as long as they don't limit attendance.

New Hartford, NY Online said...

Oh, you are so right, my friend! Thanks for providing that quote from Bob.

No one said that the town board can't decide to not permit people to speak at meetings! Did you read that in the blog?

The problem is, it never came before the board and never was made public until someone asked to speak at the May 28th meeting.

If you don't mind a one-man show in New Hartford, that is your choice.

However, the people elected councilmen to represent them. Shouldn't the peoples' representatives (councilmen) have a say and be able to vote on whether or not to allow the public to address the town board?

They have a name for someone who wants to have absolute authority to run's called a dictator!