Thursday, October 12, 2006

suggesting that all documents be placed on web site

A suggestion was made by Charles Vamossy at the Town Board meeting last night that we do a better job of making copies of proposed resolutions available to the public. I will suggest that we post all resolutions on our web site:


Anonymous said...

If the text of the resolutions can be posted, why not post the actual minutes of the public meeting?

Paul Feiner said...


Hal Samis said...

Just as Mr. Sheehan is fond of noting that 'he hasn't had time to read material in advance of being called upon to vote', the public, which often wants to comment before the Town Board on resolutions, should be extended the same courtesy. Generally because they have discussed these resolutions in advance, the Town Board has had the benefit of some prior discussion that the public does not participate in. Thus by binding these above two observations together, the conclusion should be that: not only should resolutions be posted on the web but also that they should be posted no later than 24 hours in advance of a meeting at which they may be voted upon.

This can be accomplished by making proposed resolutions the first order of business at the Tuesday work sessions so that they can be corrected before posting onto the web. Revisions of those resolutions which were important enough to warrant a revised version, only distributed at the meeting itself, should not be voted upon that night. Thus it means that the Town Board has to become more efficient and with the addition of the Legislative Aide, there is no longer any excuse to go proceed with inferior writings. If it can't get to the "floor" in a version already acceptable to the Town Board, then it should not be voted upon at that meeting. This does not mean that resolutions cannot be changed from input at the meeting. This only means that the changes be as new to the Town Board as they are to the public. In turn this will prevent Town Attorney Tim Lewis from exercising another of his off-the-cuff "in my opinion there is no meaningful difference..." rulings which serve to put the electorate at a disadvantage.

The era of assuming that the public is not a factor or interested in what is voted upon is over. The Town Board should steal this page from the Sy Syms' handbook, "An educated resident is our Town's best resident" and etch it onto their dais.

Greenburgh Taxpayer said...

If the Council does not have the documents one week before the meeting, they should not be voting. No exceptions. No one can be expected to make decisions based on scanning a document.

hal samis said...

I take exception to "Greenburgh Taxpayer" and the admonition that no one can make decisions based on scanning (assuming that this means looking over) a document and a week is needed to register (not the checkout type) the information.
The point is that the public does not make the decision; the public's decision is to have decisions made by their elected representatives. Thus it is not fair to tie their hands too tightly. Furthermore, they have the background and they have a draft form of the resolution when they discuss it during the weekly Tuesday afternoon work sessions and there is always a Tuesday ahead of a Wednesday Town Board meeting. My concern is that the public, which has an opportunity during public comment to discuss the resolution and maybe influence the Town Board's vote or to maybe even cause some changes that night,
should be at all times on a level playing field with the Town Board. This would occur if the public had the resolution for 24 hours which should be an adequate amount of time to prepare comment. But, again from the handbook, "always follow the golden rule, he who has the gold makes the rules". It is not for the public to tell the Town Board how to run their own shop. If they only need two minutes to read a document, if they need two weeks, if they need two hours; that is up to them. The public will express their happiness with the Board's cognition on election day. However, the public, within reason, has a right to be familiar with the source material and, for myself, I am content with having it available for just 24 hours. What I deplore, however, is not being given a copy until on the way in of the night of voting and sometimes as late as while it is being discussed and sometimes only after it has been voted upon. Circumventing this injustice is what my response is about.

Anonymous said...

You are right, the Town Board can have votes with inadequate preparation -- but I have every right to urge them not to.

As to who has the gold rules -- NO the Town is subject to laws -- as they are finding out every time they lose a case