Cheers and Jeers: June 23, 2014 - Press-Republican: Opinion

Cheers and Jeers: June 23, 2014

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Posted: Monday, June 23, 2014 3:25 am

CHEERS to Clinton County Attorney James Coffey for his detailed explanations when the County Legislature needs to go into executive session to discuss certain matters.

Coffey always tells the public exactly what the issue is and explains the need to go behind closed doors, giving as many names and details as legally possible.

While we in the media are not fans of government being conducted out of the ear of taxpayers, we understand that the law allows some subjects to be discussed in executive sessions.

Still, a certain format must be followed. The governmental body must convene in public session.

The members must then announce the subject to be discussed — such as “the employment history of specific personnel.” (Boards can’t just say they will be discussing “personnel” and then use that as a reason to talk about anything to do with employees. The public has a right to know much of what is happening in terms of the people whose salaries they are paying.)

The board must then take a vote to enter into executive session.

And when it is over, they must vote in public on any action to be taken.

We appreciate Coffey’s willingness to shed as much light as possible on sensitive issues while still upholding the law. We wish all other local municipal bodies would do the same.

•  •  •

JEERS to organizations that set specific times and dates for events but then alter them without warning.

That happened at Beekmantown Recreation Park on Father’s Day, when a Civil War re-enactment by the 11th New York Battery Light Artillery and Alexandria Battery CSA, set for 1 p.m., was held earlier than was advertised in the Press-Republican and other events calendars.

We have heard from people who had looked forward to the event, arriving in good time for it, only to learn it had been held at 11 a.m. so re-enactors could enjoy Father’s Day.

One person told us he had attended as a Father’s Day treat to himself and was disappointed that he had missed it.

He could have gone to the event, which was hosted by the Clinton County Historical Museum, on Saturday, he’d said. And at that point, he wished he had.

Those organizing such events owe it to the public to stick to their schedules, regardless of the turnout or other factors, or at least update the public on changes as soon as they come about.

After all, it is the public that helps allow many groups to continue, both by showing up and paying admission or giving donations.

 — If you have a Cheers and Jeers suggestion that you want the Editorial Board to consider, email it to Editor Lois Clermont at letters@pressrepublican.com.

 

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