By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor
Those who follow politics and public policy depend on advance meeting notices, agendas and supporting materials that municipalities typically post online, to know what’s coming up and when.
Followers of Glens Falls politics and policy may have noticed that the City has taken a step backwards.
Agendas are published online, but supporting materials have been missing now for several months. These can include blueprint drawings, building specifications, wording of proposed resolutions, detailed requests and explanations.
Asked about it by The Chronicle, Mayor Bill Collins said, “We have a lot of new people this year. In some cases, two-thirds of the department is gone. We had people before who just knew all the rules and laws. Now we have a new City Clerk, new Assistant Mayor, new Building and Codes department.”
He said, “We are following the law, that the agenda needs to be posted 72 hours in advance. But the supporting material, it [the law] just says something like it has to be shared as soon as possible, the legal term for that. To be honest, we want it to be better than that.”
The mayor said, “We realized, we need a policy. Before, every department was putting out the documents in their own way. We need to make it formal.
“Some departments were just submitting a Resolution on paper and the Mayor’s Assistant would write it up for them.
“We need to make a policy. That resolution has to be submitted electronically. The supporting materials, you need to provide two copies, one that has the sensitive material like phone numbers blocked out.”
Mayor Collins said the City has reorganized some departments, and hired a Zoning and Planning Coordinator to oversee these procedures, document flow, and follow-through on projects.
The mayor said earlier in September, that meetings are underway. He expects the situation will be remedied “very soon.”
The mayor says the short term solution is to contact the City Clerk’s office. He says requests for documents will be honored, and people will not be required to file a FOIL — Freedom of Information Law — request.
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