Lockport, NY: Diane Phelps objects to “Executive” session

NOTE: The below article was written by Michael Rizzo of the Buffalo News.  It was originally titled “Executive session riles board member” and was posted 4/10/11.

ARTICLE: The city School Board voted 8-1 Wednesday night to enter into a closed session for an hour before its public meeting—and then the lone dissenter refused to attend.

Diane Phelps, who won her seat on the board last year as a write-in candidate, said the board lacked transparency in disclosing to the public the purpose of the meeting, which according to the agenda was to discuss “matters of a confidential nature.”

She said she won’t participate in a meeting that she believes is not held in accordance with the New York State Open Meetings Law.

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Public Records–your best friend

NOTE: The below article was posted in the Union-Sun and Journal on 11/16/10.  It’s a broad overview of how to obtain public records in New York state–you do have a right to know. I will write more, as I learn more.

LETTER: Does it not seem that incumbent politicians tend to become entrenched politicians; and in time, its all about them? You can (so to speak) smell it in the air. So then, how do “We The People” check this self-serving tendency of elected office? One answer comes immediately to mind—”term limits”. But, that seems far off, at best.

A more immediate answer is that “We The People” must take our government(s) off “Auto Pilot”, by investing ourselves into the democratic process. We must know the issues, and we must have a “public opinion”; that, like any employer, we might make known to our employees whether we find satisfaction or dissatisfaction in their job performance. Given the facts, “We the People” can separate the wheat from the chaff.

So, where are these facts? They’re in public records.

Because you have a “right to know”, New York state has established the Committee on Open Government (COOG); it’s responsible for overseeing and advising with regard to the Freedom of Information, Open Meetings and Personal Privacy Protection Laws.

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