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Most Greene County towns violating Open Meetings Law

Jul 13, 2023 1:03 pm

Nancy Kern reports for Columbia-Greene Media that most towns in Greene violate the state Open Meetings Law, not posting their minutes publicly within two weeks of board meetings. The law is simple: "“If the agency in which a public body functions maintains a regularly and routinely updated website and utilizes a high speed internet connection, minutes shall be posted on the website within two weeks from the date of such meeting.” But many towns and villages are many months behind in this legal requirement. Tannersville and Prattsville have not posted their minutes since March 2023, and Hunter last posted minutes in November 2022. Ashland was over a year behind in its postings, but after being contacted about the missing minutes, updated its website to be in compliance. But the town of Windham’s website consists of dead links, not the required minutes. Hunter Village Clerk Kathleen Hilbert explained why they violate the law, saying, “We have no staff... I’m the only one here right now. We have no one to type the minutes. The whole board is aware of the situation. We would all like to see the minutes typed, but there isn’t anyone to type them. I have to prioritize collecting tax payments, water payments, sewer payments.” Hilbert also has audio recordings of the meetings that are not posted online. Durham Town Clerk Janet Partridge said Durham’s town attorney Tal G. Rappleyea tells the town to violate the law by not posting the minutes until the next month, after the board approves the minutes at the following board meeting. “I think this is the practice of many towns in Greene County,” said Partridge. The newspaper looked at all the Greene County websites and the villages of Catskill, Windham, and Coxsackie and the towns of Lexington and New Baltimore have all their meeting minutes’ posted. Read more about this story at HudsonValley360.com.

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