NEW LAW TO INCREASE TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT

To the Editor,

Effective February 2, 2012, section 103(e) was added to the New York State Open Meetings Law. Government records to be discussed during open meetings are to be made available to the public prior to the meetings.

This is an improvement as despite all that is positive in the governing of Rockland county’s towns and villages, many boards leave much to be desired because of the lack of relevant details about the meeting agendas presented on their websites. This effectively silences many residents. If residents were better informed they could use this knowledge at public meetings to point out unforeseen flaws and produce better outcomes.

Lack of access to board agenda staff reports effectively muzzles residents. Why should our leaders oppose timely disclosure of this non-confidential information? Why not share these reports with the press in advance of public meetings to assure complete and accurate reporting and thus provide the foundation for intelligent residential participation?

Let us hope our elected leaders embrace even more transparent government, including displaying on websites Board meeting staff reports, best practices budgets and comprehensive annual financial reports. If residents then do their part with suggestions based on accurate knowledge, we can ultimately achieve a good mix of government services within the 2 percent CAP framework of property taxes increases.

Robert Tompkins

Pearl River