Thursday, October 12, 2006

Library OATS (Construction Minutes)

Supervisor Feiner asked me to post the meeting minutes of the library construction committee here. The links to download them in PDF format are below. You can open them on your own computer after downloading them with Adobe Reader.

-files removed by request of Paul Feiner-

5 comments:

Paul Feiner said...

I removed the file after I received an e mail from Chris Pierson of Triton indicating that the meeting minutes should not be posted on line untila fter the bids are received. Info within the minutes he said is for internal communication, not something intended to be accessible to potential bidders.He feels that the information may compromise bid results.
The meeting that was held was a public meeting -open to anyone, including possible bidders. I personally feel that if meetings are public and if minutes are public documents - then there is nothing secretive about the document (which is available to anyone). HOWEVER-- I don't want to take any action that can hurt the library. I will honor their request and had the documents removed immediately after I read the e mail.

Hal Samis said...

Triton's position is completely ridiculous as there is nothing in the OAT meeting minutes that could compromise the bidding process. However, the Supervisor has complied with this request.

Since the bid return cut-off and opening of the bids is now only four days away, there is little benefit to anyone now in making a fuss over the Library's continued effort to hide the warts of the expansion program. However, after the bids have been opened, I would like the Supervisor to do the following: Request the Library Team, including Triton, to illustrate in writing what were the "information sensitive" points that were allegedly part of the OAT meeting minutes.

My bet is that this request will be ignored because the Library Board is loathe to give out any information which could be embarrassing.

The one thing I learned from Bob Bernstein is that saying something is so is not the same as proving that it is so. It is easy enough to say that there is compromising information; pointing to it is another matter.

One way to resolve this dilemma is to actually identify those portions of the OAT meeting minutes that were threatening to the integrity of the bid process.

Let's wait and see if Triton can come up with anything other than an apology. The bids are scheduled to be opened this Wednesday.

Paul Feiner said...

I will ask Triton to explain why the minutes should be secret --and will post all the available minutes on the blog after the bids are in. I believe that the process must be much more open than it has been. I believe that one of the major reasons why there have been so many problems re: the library construction is because constructive citizen suggestions have been ignored. And--because the public has been discouraged from participating in the process. An example: Vic Weinstein has expertise in these matters. He volunteered to represent me on the OATS committee. The Library Board refused to let him speak at meetings. He has lots of good ideas. He can't even ask a question when he attends the meetings. This is not the kind of government the residents of Greenburgh deserve.

pete federman said...

The minutes are public documents for a publically funded project. Importantly, the "secret" minutes have already been distributed and are part of the public record. They can be found on the library website.

There is absolutely no benefit to the residents of Greenburgh in excluding these from this blog-site.

hal samis said...

Pete, the last posting of the OAT minutes on the Library web site was March 28, 2006. Soon after, the Town Council appointed Al Regula to be the point man for Library information. And soon after this, the flow of information almost completley dried up, reduced to a monthly 10-12 line summary of what the Library Board decided the Public should know. By contrast, the Ossining Library web site abounds with information, see ossininglibrary.org. They don't hide the warts and blemishes. Incidentally, Ossining is using the same architect as Greenburgh but a local firm as construction manager.

The point is that by releasing information, the Library Trustees (particularly Howard Jacobs, Susan Wolfert and Estelle Palevsky, the Building Committee) feel they are vulnerable to exposure and, gasp! criticism. This is a real fear because they appear to go out of their way to earn it. What they are skilled at in building is the elaborate scheme of misdirection - blaming everyone but themselves - and hiding as much information as possible. I know that providing information is something a Library is supposed to do but in Greenburgh they have their own mission.

That is the reason that their team, in this instance Triton, the construction manager, says that releasing the OAT minutes would compromise the bidding process...that I have asked for a post bidding explanation with specific citations from these minutes as to what would have "compromised" the bidding process. And by the way, since no one is standing over the construction manager or the Library Trustees or town employees who attend these meetings, there is no safeguard that "private" talks with bidders don't or can't happen. Only, according to them, by the releasing of information to the Public can any danger be incurred. And, as you well know, anything that anyone bidding on the project needs to know, is already in the bidding package distributed by the construction manager.

So, let's wait for the bids to come in and clamor to see the Library's response as to what was so dangerous to the process in the Oat meeting minutes. You and I already know what the answer is but we'll play by their rules and let them hang themselves, again.