Village Web Site Policy Frustrations | March 29, 2007
Former Trustee Nancy Hays shares her web site frustrations in a letter to TPFYI. Below her statement is a series of e-mails with comments added by the Mayor; noted by the double asterisk.

This is a statement regarding the Village website policy which I read at the March 21st Board of Trustees meeting.

The Mayor’s March newsletter says in part “We (McFadden and Hansen) pleaded for time to review the changes, modify the actual website policy document Trustee Hays and Trustee Hansen worked out in 2005 ...” Worked out, I’m afraid, is a misleading term. I had not been able to reach any meaningful compromise with Trustee Hansen. At several meetings he either ignored or overruled my suggestions for website overview by the BOT. I then e-mailed the entire Board with my concerns and comments. The sad fact is that there is still no independent oversight regarding content and that the Mayor still controls access to the website.

Nancy Hays
Former Trustee

P.S. After my presentation the mayor asked me if I had voted for passage of the Website Policy. Indeed I had done so, thinking that some kind of website policy was better than none and that it could be modified in the future.

N. E. H

I copy below relevant e-mail documents for your information, a part of which I read at the BOT meeting.

David McFadden. 8/10/05 12:51 PM
From: David McFadden <>
To: "''" <>, Oliver Parker <>,, "Christopher C. Hansen" <>
Cc: "'Debbie Matthews'" <>
Subject: RE:
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 12:51:58 -0400
Hi Nancy, Chris, Russ and Oliver,
Please see comments below, which are marked by:  **
-----Original Message-----
From: [<>]
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2005 10:45 AM
To: David McFadden; Oliver Parker;
Cc: Christopher C. Hansen

Dear Russ, David and Oliver,
Below I copy an e-mail I sent to Chris on Saturday of last week. Chris and I met for a discussion on Tuesday. He is not in agreement with some of these thoughts.

Before these ideas are lost, I would like to open up this discussion to the other trustees. I feel strongly that if the Mayor's web site is not separated from the Village web site, then we need to consult our attorney on the liability issues that the web site poses. Further, we need to consider the housekeeping chores of recording all web site changes in case of FOIL requests.

**I have already consulted our attorney, as well as others, and no one shares your concern about the FOIL issue or that I should have a separate website.


Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 22:16:00 -0400
To:  "Christopher C. Hansen"     <>
From: "James D. Hays" <>
Subject: Village Web Site

Dear Chris,
Here are some thoughts on the Village web site. Look forward to discussing this with you on Tuesday.

Best Nancy

Re: Tuxedo Park Web Site

Mayor McFadden's recent overhaul of the Village of Tuxedo Park's official web site has created a number of issues which I believe the Board of Trustees needs to address...

As this is the official site of our government, is subject to several laws: including: the Freedom of Information Law and the Personal Privacy Protection Law. None of these laws seem to have been taken into consideration at this juncture as the possibly inadequate Privacy Policy and Terms of Use pages testify.

Below is a short list of problems I see with the site.

1. The agreement with Deluge Interactive has not been seen by the board. What are its terms and what data protection does Deluge provide us with?

**Anyone can review it at the Village Office.

2. Who else has access to the back end of our official site? What happens if the Mayor is unavailable to manage the site?

**Anyone can access the back end as long as we authorize them.

3. How are we sending communications via the web? Is there a policy for it? There is a newsletter sign up, so some policy should be in place.

**Aren't you and Chris supposed to be working on a draft to present to the Trustees at the next meeting on these very matters?

4. How is the web content chosen and is there any way to vet materials before they go up? While the Mayor has shown his ability to remove inappropriate content in a timely fashion it would perhaps be best if the content is discussed with the board or committee before it is posted.

**See my answer to #3 above.

5. The Mayor's Blog is a problem for the disclaimer on the page says:

**It is not called the Mayor's Blog anymore.  It's called "Straight From the Mayor's Desk" and it is not a BLOG anymore.  It's the Newsletter now.

""The Hon. David C. McFadden is the sole author the Mayor's Blog and it's contents do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other elected officials, including the Board of Trustees, as well as, all appointed Board members.  The Mayor's Blog is not a part of the Tuxedo Park Official Village Web site."

But there is every indication that it is a part of the Tuxedo Park Official Village web site. It is not hosted on a separate server or even on a separate web site (the URL does not change). Furthermore it is completely integrated into the Village site, news articles and newsletters even refer to the Mayor's Blog. We can't have it both ways, either the Blog is part of the site or it needs to actually be made separate.

**I don't understand your point and I think you are being paranoid about the legal issues.


The new site offers the Village an opportunity to create a truly useful municipal web site. We are heading in the right direction, but we need to acknowledge that the management of the Village site is important and needs the input of the Mayor, the Board and the Village's legal counsel. We cannot continue just posting information without the content being vetted. The site is too important to be handled in such a manner.

I propose that a committee be established to manage the site and its content.

The committee should consist of members who can, through a deliberative process, determine the sections of the site as well as establish guidelines and policies for its use. Donna Giliberto, NYCOM general council, has lots of good advice regarding Municipal web sites at the end of her Sept. 2003 presentation:

"The Freedom of Information Law after 9/11/01". The committee would also work out the various legal issues that govern municipal web sites.

**I would not support a committee like you describe above.

It is wonderful that the new site is up and running but now policies must be put in place to ensure that the site properly reflects the needs of the Village and does not open us up to any liability issues.

**What liability, slandering someone? That won't happen under my watch. Please define what risk we have?


PS I have looked at a number of N. Y. municipal web sites (Amityville. Bronxville. Canandaigua and East Hampton) and find nothing resembling the Mayors blog. I'll keep looking, perhaps there is a precedent.

N. H.
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