Officials meet behind closed doors to consider tri-county solid waste authority
William J. Kemble is reporting for the Daily Freeman the possibility of forming a solid waste authority to oversee trash operations in Greene, Sullivan and Ulster counties was discussed January 24, during a closed-door meeting of the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency board. The proposed Greene-Ulster-Sullivan, or GUS, authority is described as a $31.9 million operation. The meeting Wednesday was attended by Greene County Legislature Chairman Kevin Lewis, Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Luis Alvarez and Ulster County Legislature Chairman Ken Ronk, along with 17 other people. A map included in a summary of a feasibility study obtained by the Freeman shows the three-county area would have overlapping coverage regions serviced by transfer stations, but information was not provided about how the system would function. The summary states the new public authority would employ 18 people in Greene, 18 in Sullivan and 30 people in Ulster County. Public officials who came out of the meeting declined comment and refused to answer questions. One official, who refused to identify himself, told a reporter to "get lost." As for whether the closed-door meeting was legal, Robert Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government, said conducting the conversation away from the public on the premise that it involved contract negotiations and personnel issues, was out of compliance with the state Open Meetings Law. He said a closed-door discussion of policy, such as how many people would be on a regional board, also would be out of compliance with state law. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.