So Much for Open Government | February 21, 2007
At the January BOT meeting, the Mayor proposed that the Trustees approve a draft version of BAR guidelines even though the 58 page draft document:
  • was submitted for distribution the day before the Trustees' meeting
  • had not been distributed to the other boards for review or comment
  • was not presented for discussion in public by any board
  • had not been presented to the BAR for a vote to submit to the Trustees
  • is not clear whether the draft contains guidelines for the BAR and homeowners to follow or a law for the BAR to administer.

The Mayor was frustrated that only he and Chris Hansen were prepared to approve them.

We applaud the efforts that have gone into producing this draft document by the members of the TAC and others, whoever those others might be. Without a doubt, committing standards to paper is a daunting task and pulling the draft document together has been a lot of work.

Three of the Trustees refused to approve 50 plus pages of rules without adequate public review; and without clarification of what authority the rules will hold or how the rules will be applied or whether sections of the draft are in conflict with the Code.  This 58-page set of guidelines is a draft document that has not been approved by the BAR for submission to the Trustees. There has been no review of the rules and no determination if they represent current standards or new standards for us as residents to follow.

Here’s what the Mayor had to say about public comment on these rules during the Trustee meeting:  “Can you imagine asking everyone in the Village for their opinion on reading this?” (Public response on tape: “Yes.”) Mayor: “Well, it’s not going to happen.” So much for open government.

In a truly open government public comment and discussion are absolutely necessary. After all, these are the rules that we will have to abide by if we make changes to structures on our properties. The Board of Zoning Appeals and the Planning Board should review these rules and there should be open, public discussions of this document amongst all the boards and their members before this document is passed. The Trustees should vote only after having time to review the document and consider input from all the boards and the public.

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