Editor, The Spotlight:
I attended the Niskayuna Town Board meeting on April 19. The focus of Privilege of the Floor was the Soccer and Lacrosse proposed building. Whenever there is a controversial issue, residents express their opinions. This is an important part of the democratic process.
My concern was with the overall process. Councilman McKinney sounded the alert with the proposed building because he disagreed with the supportive financial data presented by the Supervisor Landry and Councilwoman McDonnell. I would be the first to agree that this was his right. However, I do not agree with the way that he has handled his disagreement. I have attended board meetings where this project has been discussed. There has never been an attempt, to my knowledge, to hide the scope of the project from the residents.
It is alleged that Mr. McKinney did not attend the Recreation Committee meetings over the past six months. He believes that attendance at committee meetings is not necessary since he can speak with department heads. Attending town board meetings and town committee meetings are vital for an elected official. Mr. McKinney is paid a salary plus family health benefits totaling $25,000. There are residents who receive this sum for their pension. Instead of attending meetings to vocalize his disapproval, he has taken to the internet. The e-mails sent out by him go to a select group of people. He is severely critical of Supervisor Landry and Councilwoman McDonnell and critical of their financial analysis. No one knows who is receiving these e-mails. I have disagreed with him. As a consequence, I’ve been removed from his list; so much for an open government. This might be considered open government if one is using a “Robespierre” model. I suggested at the April 19 meeting that he have an open website available to all residents so that everyone could voice their opinion and defend themselves against various accusations. If people are being criticized in e-mails, don’t they have a right to give a response to those receiving these alleged criticisms and accusations?