When Scoff-Laws are on the Street Ít’s Bad Enough
But When the Scoff-Laws are
Making the Laws or Enforcing Them It’s Downright Criminal!!!
But That’s What We Have Going On In The Village Of Ravena Village Offices And In The Town Of Coeymans Police Department And The Albany Democrat Machine Is Playing Right Along. But It Ain’t Over Til The Fat Lady Sings!
The village of Ravena and the Coeymans Police Department are playing a game of chicken with the New York State Public Officers Law Article 6 Sections 84-90, better known as the New York State Freedom of Information Law, or F.O.I.L. for short. They have been playing loosy goosey with the law for some years now, according to a number of local residents who have been trying for years to get the village of Ravena and the Coeymans Police Department to cough up documents and information that citizens have a right to see and know about. But Ravena and the Coeymans PD have been refusing to obey the law and have been making stupid excuses why they don’t produce the information citizens are demanding to see. Ravena and the Coeymans PD make all sorts of excuses why they don’t have to give you what you want but none of it’s going to work from now on. They are not above the law and the jig is up and they’re going to hear the old refrain, “You’ve been served!”
[Editor’s Note: It is important to make clear that the culprit in the town of Coeymans is the Coeymans Police Department, not the Town Clerk’s Office. Mr Gregory Darlington and his hand-picked Coeymans PD thugs are the problems—due largely to their ignorance and loyalty to their Coeymanazi godfathers—and are apparently indifferent to the principle of law and laws. The staff of the town of Coeymans Town Clerk’s office is non-partisan, professional, and knowlegeable of their duties and obligations to the public. The village of Ravena could learn a great deal from the Coeymans Clerk and her staff.]
We have been informed that Notices of Claim are going out to the village of Ravena, the Coeymans Police Department, and the RCS CSD putting them on notice that lawsuits are just around the corner and that they’d better be prepared to explain to the judge why they feel they don’t have to comply with New York’s laws.
PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW, ARTICLE 6 SECTIONS 84-90 FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAW states:
The legislature hereby finds that a free society is maintained when government is responsive and responsible to the public, and when the public is aware of governmental actions. The more open a government is with its citizenry, the greater the understanding and participation of the public in government.
As state and local government services increase and public problems become more sophisticated and complex and therefore harder to solve, and with the resultant increase in revenues and expenditures, it is incumbent upon the state and its localities to extend public accountability wherever and whenever feasible.
The people’s right to know the process of governmental decision-making and to review the documents and statistics leading to determinations is basic to our society. Access to such information should not be thwarted by shrouding it with the cloak of secrecy or confidentiality. The legislature therefore declares that government is the public’s business and that the public, individually and collectively and represented by a free press, should have access to the records of government in accordance with the provisions of this article.
So why is the village of Ravena and the Coeymans PD so tight-lipped? And why is the RCS CSD so hard to get information out of? Well, we all know that there’s plenty to hide and if some of it gets out there, there’ll be no place for the crooks and criminals in town to hide. They’d rather take their chances giving citizens the runaround and bullying them into giving up. They’d rather take their chances hoping that citizens will despair and just say “Forgettaboutit!”
But things have changed. We’ve been informed that the village of Ravena and the town of Coeymans Police Department are to be served with Notices of Claim, the first step in the process of suing a municipality, putting them on notice that they’ve violated the law for too long and it’s time to pay up. The same applies to the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District where it seems the teachers, union reps, coaches, and board of education members like James Latter can violate confidentiality rules and the laws protecting student and family information but then turn around and refuse to release information when requested by parents and concerned citizens. Kinda looks like they’ve gotten things ass-end-backwards but we’re here to set the poor backward dolts right. And we’d like to hear from you and we’d like your help to do just that.
In fact, we’ve agreed to be a clearing house for Ravena, Coeymans, Selkirk, and New Baltimore residents who have had less-than-satisfactory experiences with the village of Ravena, the town of Coeymans Police Department, the town of New Baltimore, the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District offices or school administrators when trying to get information you have a right to have.
Now that the Notices of Claim are going out to the village of Ravena, the town of Coeymans Police Department and the RCS-CSD, we’d like to hear from you, residents, citizens, parents about your problems in getting local government to share information to which you have a right. If you’ve had problems, we want to know about them. We’d like to to tell us about your experiences and even send us your requests for information that have been denied or that have gotten “lost” by Ravena or the Coeymans PD or the RCS CSD. Help us eliminate this unlawful and unfair practice and write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to leave your confidential information and story. No names or identifying details will be published so when you write to us at email@example.com you are sharing information that stays with us. We may contact you once we hear from you for clarification but no one else will see your messages. Or you can leave a public message here, on this blog, by leaving a comment.
One final word…
About the Committee on Open Government
The Committee on Open Government, is a unit housed in the Department of State that oversees and advises the government, public, and news media on Freedom of Information, Open Meetings, and Personal Privacy Protection Laws. The Committee offers guidance in response to phone inquiries, prepares written legal advisory opinions, and provides training to government and other interested groups. Recommendations to improve open government laws are offered in an annual report to Governor and the State Legislature.
The Committee is responsible for overseeing and advising with regard to the Freedom of Information Law, the Open Meetings Law and the Personal Privacy Protection Law (Public Officers Law, Articles 6, 7 and 6-A respectively). Staff of the Committee gives advice by telephone, email, written advisory opinions, and training classes conducted throughout the state. Advice is offered to the government, the public and the news media.
The Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) pertains to the public’s right to gain access to government records. See the FOIL Advisory Opinion Index. The Open Meetings Law (OML) concerns the public’s right to attend meetings of public bodies. See the OML Advisory Opinion Index. Both statutes are based upon a presumption of access and, since their initial enactment, have undergone significant changes based largely upon recommendations made by the Committee.
(Source: NYS Department of State, Committee on Open Government website at http://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/index.html)
Unfortunately, like most government offices, especially those headed by political tools like Robert J. Freeman of the Committee on Open Government, are all but useless when it comes to solving local problems. There’s always a glitch. Always a kink and nothing gets done. Sure, you’ll get to read all the flowery statements and all of the empty promises on their websites. And you’ll get to read all the promising mission statements and empty promises but to be very realistic NOTHING IS GOING TO GET DONE UNLESS YOU MOVE YOUR ASSES AND DO IT!!! If you think that government has your interests in mind, whether it’s the village of Ravena, the Coeymans Police Department or the RCS CSD, you’re dead in the water, friends. Roadkill. And that’s the way they want to keep it.