Open Government – You be the Judge | June 15, 2008

As a candidate for Village Trustee, David McFadden prides himself on his belief in and commitment to “open government”. Take a moment and review the minutes from several of the public meetings chaired by David while he was Mayor, and then judge for your self how “open” our Village Government was under his guiding hand. {This information is presented in chronological order. Meeting minutes are on file in the Village Office for Public Review}

09/21/05 – BoT meeting
McFadden stated that in an effort to provide a public and open forum for the purpose of formulating design guidelines, improving the existing PB/BAR process, and insuring that the independent Planning Board and BAR have clearly defined duties, the Trustees would discuss creating a Transition Advisory Committee (“TAC”). This Committee would consist of the current PB/BAR members plus 5 to 7 other members and they would be given six months to make suggestions regarding the proposed transition. This process would provide a training period by having the senior members actively involved.

10/19/05 – BoT meeting
McFadden changed his mind and reversed his decision to include all current members of the PB/BAR to serve on the TAC. Instead, he appointed only Celeste Gebhardt. He also announced he would personally serve as the Trustee liaison to the TAC. McFadden justified this abrupt change in plan because he felt that the PB/BAR was extremely busy and added that the TAC would be encouraged to consult with the PB/BAR members. When questioned about how members of the TAC had been chosen, McFadden responded that the decisions were his.

11/16/05 – BoT meeting
McFadden read a statement as to why current members [excluding Celeste Gebhardt] of the PB/BAR had not been appointed to serve on the TAC. His reasons were: A.) the legality of more than two members meeting at the same time without public notice, and B.) Sam Bornstein’s position that Local Law #2 was illegal.
McFadden also announced that in accordance with NYS law, he alone had the authority to make appointments to fill vacancies of unexpired terms on Village Boards. [Editor’s Note: Although this is legal under NYS law, it is not under Village law, which is more stringent than NY State laws.]

12/21/05 – BoT meeting
Celeste Gebhardt was appointed by McFadden to Chair both the TAC and the BAR subcommittee. JoAnn Hanson was appointed Chair of the Planning Board subcommittee. There was no Trustee vote recorded on these appointments.

03/15/06 – BoT meeting
During Public Comments, concern was expressed that Board appointments were being made with no public discussion by the Mayor and Trustees before hand, and specifically that the TAC was operating without the benefit of public meetings. McFadden responded, “The nondisclosure of the TAC project was not secret but strategic. They had the ability to work confidentially.”

TAC members were appointed by McFadden alone with no record of any Trustee consultation or vote.

[Editors Note: In fact the TAC was operating in secret at McFadden’s expressed instructions, and all members were told they could not discuss the content of their meetings with anyone other than the Mayor, and this included his fellow Trustees.]

David McFadden in his own Words

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