Transparency is essential to good government

To the Editor:

Like many other Guilderland citizens, I use the town website to access information on a number of issues. With regard to town board business, I have been able to read about meeting agendas prior to each meeting.

Unfortunately, neither I nor any one else in the town of Guilderland has been able to read the minutes of any recent meetings. It appears that the most recent posting of minutes is from Feb. 4 of this year. Incredibly, we have not known the outcome of town board meetings for four months!

We have a video broadcast of these meetings but no written record has been made available for all of this time. In an era where openness in government is of great importance to everyone, this administration doesn’t seem to take it seriously.

Transparency is essential to good government. We can’t all attend town board meetings. Having this information posted in an accurate and timely fashion is the board’s duty. If they can’t do this simple task, what else are they allowing to slide?

Mike Rest
Guilderland

Editor’s note: Mike Rest is a member of the Guilderland Republican Committee.

New York’s law states that minutes of open meetings must be made available within two weeks of the meeting; minutes of executive sessions must be made available within one week of the executive session.

Robert Freeman, director of the New York State Committee on Open Government, said that, while minutes must be prepared and available within that time frame, there is no legal obligation to post them on a website.

Guilderland Town Clerk Jean Cataldo said she has the minutes for each meeting prepared and available. “I have been doing the minutes since becoming town clerk,” she said; Cataldo assumed the office on Jan. 1. “I’ve run into technical difficulties with the font. I wanted to be consistent. I do intend to post them,” she said, once the technical difficulties are resolved.

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