On Wednesday, the Human Services Committee of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors held its monthly meeting. The last item on the agenda was a review of the proposals for housing the homeless that had been received on May 11. When the meeting, which had already gone on for more than an hour and a half, finally got to that point, Supervisor Betty Young (Taghkanic), who chairs the committee, called for a motion to go into executive session. Register-Star reporter Nathan Mayberg objected, saying that RFPs are public documents and so are the proposals submitted. Young said that county attorney Robert Fitzsimmons had determined that they could go into executive session. Among the reasons cited were that they would be discussing the budget, they would be comparing competitive bids, they would be talking about a contract. Mayberg was adamant. None of these things justified an executive session. At one point, after the committee's reasons for wanting to go into executive session had been reiterated, Young turned to Mayberg and asked sharply, "Can't you get that through your head?"
In the end, it was decided, on Young's suggestion, that committee members would take copies of the two proposals home to study and the committee would reconvene to discuss them at a special meeting. When Mayberg said, "I object to that, too," Young replied sharply, "Too bad." Ironically, Young's tactic to avoid discussing the proposals in a public meeting was the very action that made the documents public. It was subsequently determined by legal counsel that once they were distributed to the members of the committee, the proposals ceased to be private or confidential.
Mayberg's report on the meeting (omitting coverage of his face-down with Young) and the contents of the two proposals received is in today's Register-Star: "County gets 2 proposal for housing." The two proposals came from Maranatha Human Services Inc. and a collaboration between the Mental Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties and the Galvan Initiatives Foundation calling itself Civic Hudson Emergency and Transitional Housing Corporation. In its proposal, Maranatha is not specific about where their facility would be located, but the MHA-Galvan partnership is. They would be using these two buildings owned by Eric Galloway: 620 State Street, the building where the Hudson Orphan Asylum was originally located, and 61-63 North Seventh Street, the garage where various architectural elements removed from Galloway buildings are said to be stored.