The question brought to the Committee on Open Government by the Mendon Town Board back in 1995 was one that is remarkably similar to the prevailing situation in Thurman. The Town’s minutes are supposed to be a fair, reasonable, and an accurate record of the Town’s proceedings and actions; however, this year the minutes have been twisted into a biased vehicle for the dissemination of toxic political narratives devised by the current Supervisor. Supervisor Hyde has devoted a significant amount of time at each Board meeting making lengthy statements describing in great detail how little she thinks of this year’s Board and Councilwoman Seaman in particular and has consistently denied, with the aid of a complicit Town Clerk, Councilwoman Seaman and the Board the ability to respond and have their responses entered into the minutes; in violation of not only Town policies enacted in January 2017 by then Councilwoman Hyde and her political allies, but also in violation of the spirit inherent in the relevant laws cited by the Committee’s advisory opinion.
Councilwomen Seaman, Ackley, and Councilman Needham have tried repeatedly this year to give effect to the Town’s established policies and ensure a fair, reasonable, and accurate record of the Town’s proceedings. They have been thus far thwarted by a contemptuous Supervisor who willfully disregards Board resolutions and a complicit Town Clerk. Supervisor Hyde has twisted the Town’s official record into a vehicle for her toxic narratives; contributing to the perpetuation of an already unhealthy political environment. This behavior on the part of the Supervisor and the Clerk needs to be brought to an end.
1. Minutes shall be taken at all open meetings of a public body which shall consist of a record or summary of all motions, proposals, resolutions and any other matter formally voted upon and the vote thereon.
2. Minutes shall be taken at executive sessions of any action that is taken by formal vote which shall consist of a record or summary of the final determination of such action, and the date and vote thereon; provided, however, that such summary need not include any matter which is not required to be made public by the freedom of information law as added by article six of this chapter.
3. Minutes of meetings of all public bodies shall be available to the public in accordance with the provisions of the freedom of information law within two weeks from the date of such meeting except that minutes taken pursuant to subdivision two hereof shall be available to the public within one week from the date of the executive session.