To the Editor,
Once upon a time in the Town of Orangetown, meetings for the Town Board, Pearl River Board of Education, South Orangetown Board of Education, and Nyack Board of Education were scheduled on different evenings. This afforded Orangetown constituents the opportunity to attend, without conflict, any meeting conducted by any of these four boards. Town and school taxes comprise nearly 90 percent of an Orangetown taxpayer’s tax liability. A typical resident, and parent of a school-aged child living within the Town of Orangetown, relies on these four governing entities for various necessary services. For decades, the Orangetown Town Board had scheduled meetings on Mondays. The Pearl River and Nyack BOE meetings have been scheduled on Tuesdays while the South Orangetown BOE meetings have been scheduled on Thursdays.
Unfortunately, this all changed in 2010 when the Orangetown Town Board started scheduling their meetings on Tuesdays, conflicting with the Pearl River and Nyack BOE meetings. The Town Board also scheduled quite a few of their meetings on Thursdays in 2012, conflicting with South Orangetown BOE meetings. It should be noted that the Rockland County Legislature meets on Tuesday evenings.
I have addressed Supervisor Stewart and the council members at three town board meetings in 2013 and twice in 2014. At their January 14, 2014 meeting, Supervisor Stewart and Councilman Diviny voted to move the meetings to Mondays. Councilman Troy has publicly stated that he does not like Monday meetings. Councilman Morr has publicly stated that he prefers Tuesdays so he can have more time to prepare for the meetings. Councilman Valentine, during the February 26, 2013 meeting, publicly stated that the Pearl River BOE should switch their meetings to Mondays. I was dismayed by his remark considering that the Town Board created and has continued this conflict.
I believe that in a democratic society, every citizen should have the right and ability to attend all major representative meetings without conflict. All citizens have the right to meet with, and be heard by, any of their elected representatives publicly. Personal preferences should not be the reason to overstep the rights of the people. I become very concerned when our elected representatives consider their personal and selfish needs over what is best for all the people they serve.
I implore our Orangetown Town Board elected officials, at their next regular town board meeting, to reconsider moving the scheduled meetings from Tuesdays to another night.