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Mark Mahoney's Your Right to Know
by Mark Mahoney

Your Right to Know

A Daily Gazette opinion blog
An interactive forum for readers on open government issues.

No secret emails on block grants after all

Last week, we were critical of a plan by Schenectady City Council President Margaret King to accept council members' recommendations regarding federal Community Development Block Grants through secret emails. We thought the public had a right to know what its representatives were thinking on the subject.
Gazette reporter Kathleen Moore filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request for the emails, at least a portion of which would have been available to the public under state open government laws.
But now, King says the council won't communicate its recommendations by email and instead will discuss them in public at its meeting tonight, starting at 5 p.m.
It's the way it should have been done in the first place, but King and the council should be commended for reversing their position. Still, the delay only gives citizens one week to comment before the council is scheduled to vote on its recommendations next Monday. So if you are concerned about the grant funding -- which many people are -- attend the meeting tonight and/or get your comments to council members before next Monday's meeting.
Thoughts? Post a comment here, or send me an email at
-- Mark Mahoney

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May 7, 2014
9:09 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

The public hearing for the Consolidated Plan budget was held on April 28th before the public had a chance to know the City Council's recommendations which were discussed in committee on the night of May 5th. According to the Consolidated Plan schedule on the City's website the public comment period to HUD, the federal agency that oversees the use of these funds ends on May 8th before the next City Council meeting on May 12th. Most likely the Consolidated Plan budget will be on the consent agenda and any public comments will occur after the vote. Of course the public can call Council members about their concerns prior to the 12th vote but overall the timing of this process could be better. The City Council has had the budget since April 7th almost a month from the time their recommendations were made public.
Vickie Hurewitz

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