[Editor note: This letter from Town of Lumberland Councilman David Leamon concerns reported inaccuracies in our article entitled “Who is in charge in an emergency?” from issue 31 of The River Reporter, week of August 1 to 6.]
Councilman Leamon writes:
The article said, “Leamon said that his reading of the law found that any emergency declaration suspending local law and expected to last beyond five days should be ratified by the board.”
This is incorrect. What I said was that under my reading of state law, the town supervisor has the authority to indefinitely suspend local laws and issue emergency orders, e.g., impose curfews, by repeatedly extending such declarations, and that there is no mechanism by which such action could be challenged or curtailed at the local level. What I requested, in a writing circulated to the board, was that language be added to Lumberland’s emergency plan that requires the town board to ratify any emergency declarations issued by the supervisor so that there continues to be an effective system of checks and balances, and accountability.
The article also said, “He [Leamon] also questioned the supervisor’s authority to institute curfews.”
This is also incorrect. I did not question the supervisor’s authority, which is clearly set forth in applicable state law. What I questioned was the wisdom of not having the aforementioned checks and balances, which is why I suggested the aforementioned amendment to the emergency plan to include ratification by the town board.
Town of Lumberland, NY