Saturday, August 13, 2016

Village of Endicott Website, minutes, open meetings law

Hello Endicott Village Trustees,

At the last meeting, I registered a complaint about the website, to wit,
that there are no meeting minutes published since April, and there are no agendas posted except for one from June.

The Mayor responded that this "was not my top priority", and in my opinion, seemed flippant, and dismissive of my concerns.

I would like to remind you that there is a legal requirement under NY Open Meetings Law to make meeting minutes available to the public within 2 weeks after the meeting.

NY Public Officers Law, Article 7 §106(3): Minutes of meetings of all public bodies shall be available to the public in accordance with the provisions of the freedom of information law within two weeks from the date of such meeting except that minutes taken pursuant to subdivision two hereof shall be available to the public within one week from the date of the executive session.

Furthermore, websites are mentioned several places throughout the law with regards to open records:

NY Public Officers Law, Article 7 §106(2)(e) ... If the agency in which a public body functions maintains a regularly and routinely updated website and utilizes a high speed internet connection, such records shall be posted on the website to the extent practicable as determined by the agency or the department....

(f) Open meetings of an agency shall be, to the extent practicable and within available funds, broadcast to the public and maintained as records of the agency. If the agency maintains a website and utilizes a high speed internet connection, such open meeting shall be, to the extent practicable and within available funds, streamed on such website in real-time, and posted on such website within and for a reasonable time after the meeting....

Here are some examples of websites from other public bodies in the region:

Compare to--

  • Village of Endicott -- Meeting minutes just updated (thank you! As I reported, only minutes up to April were posted, FOUR MONTHS out of date).

    THERE ARE STILL PROBLEMS: I cannot find any agendas, nor meeting announcements, agendas, or supporting documents the the planning board, the water water board, work sessions, or any other standing committees.

Feel free to check other public bodies, such as the local school boards, etc.

While there is no legal requirement that you must put these documents on your website, a quick survey of other public bodies reveals that nearly ALL of them place detailed records on the website as a way to meet the legal requirements for transparency as required by NY State Open Meetings Law.

This also goes a long way towards showing the general public that you care about maintaining an air of transparency.

I would appreciate it if you would give this matter some attention, strive to IMPROVE the website, and fill in those document gaps over the next months.

Thanks and best regards,
William Huston

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

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