Weekly paper changes state policy

OSC to respond to records request

Genesee Country Express   |   March 10, 2011   |   Original source

The New York State Comptroller’s Office responded Monday to a records request filed by Genesee Country Express Editor Les Bowen.

The records request, filed under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, stems from a Feb. 24 meeting in Springwater, when all five elected members of the Town Council met with auditors in a preaudit conference. Auditors claimed during the meeting that the meeting was closed, a claim that is at odds with the state’s Open Meetings Law, which requires every meeting of a quorum is open to the public, as long as official public business is discussed. In Springwater’s case, that’s any meeting of three or more of its council members.

The spokesman for the Comptroller’s Office claims that because the meeting was called by the state agency, it’s not a Town Council meeting and not subject to the Open Meetings Law.

Bowen filed a request with the Comptroller’s Office on Feb. 28, petitioning “access to and copies of the policy that governs interactions with local governments which are otherwise subject to the New York Open Meetings Law.”

On March 7, Shelly Brown, records access officer for the Comptroller’s Office acknowledged receipt of the request. Pursuant to state law the Comptroller’s Office must again reply by April 4, at which time, the state agency must release the record, deny the request or explain the reasons it needs additional time.