Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Public Notice About a Nonpublic Meeting

The following notice appeared today in the Register-Star.

The Greenport Planning Board is holding a special meeting next Tuesday about the proposed Colarusso haul road, but, as the notice indicates, the meeting will take place in executive session.

Thanks to Virginia Martin for bringing this to our attention


  1. Just a note: there is no such thing as "an executive session meeting" by New York State law. A public body may go into executive session during a meeting, but it must open and close in public. It's a very good rule and prevents lots of hanky-panky.

  2. Thank you VM, for volunteering such an invaluable service.

    For another example, probably no one else would have seen the public notice for last year's then-proposed dock work. Your sharp eye led to public scrutiny, which led in turn to required revisions in the site plan.

    The owner's Appeal to the City's Order to Remedy cites the original Public Notice, and references the issue of site plan revisions.

    What would we do without you, VM?

  3. Way too much "executive session" nonsense around here. It generates cynicism.

  4. Of course the executive session meeting generates cynicism; it's supposed to. Because cynicism generates apathy, which discourages public participation, which allows for executive autonomy, which further discourage public engagement. In the early days such notices were a service to the public: don't bother coming to the meeting tonight since we're only going into Executive Session. But it wasn't long before such service to the public became a manipulation of the public; why come to the meeting? It's closed. No one showed up; no one asked. In fact, these meetings are not closed. Moreover, even executive session sessions are not protected from public scrutiny; they do not put an umbrella of silence over everthing said at such meetings: only discussion subjects protected by the Open Meetings law are protected in ES. Thus, if you discuss a matter concerning the haul road in ES, or the weather, or your uncle's broken truck, those discussions are not protected from public perusal or FOIA requests. In fact, minutes of ES sessions are subject to public perusal per the Open Meetings law. Only those subjects specifically protected by the OML can be withheld from public purview.

  5. No wonder Greenport thinks they're in charge. They think they're evidenced by the address on the notice.

    So does every box store on Fairview Avenue.