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Withholding information

June 30, 2011

Month after month, residents who have attended Town of Callicoon public meetings have run head-on into a supervisor and a town attorney who seem determined to withhold even the most basic information from the public. Residents have been misled about the correspondence sent to the town, and stunned to find out that an important “public” meeting had been held practically in secret.

But the latest episode is almost comical. According to the agenda for the town’s most recent meeting, the public was given “Open Floor Time” to comment on the business before the board, including two proposed resolutions. But here’s the catch. While the public was permitted to comment on the resolutions, they weren’t told what they said. The resolutions hadn’t been posted on the town website; printed copies were not made available at the meeting; and the supervisor refused to read them aloud.

Town residents are not children. Public information is not precious candy to be doled out as our supervisor sees fit. It is the duty of the supervisor, the town attorney and the board to make public information readily available to the public.

Jill Wiener
Town of Callicoon, NY