Is this even legal? As it turns out, yes. New York’s Open Meetings Law requires any time there’s a quorum of members of a public body meeting and discussing official business, it must be open to the public. If you track down this review session, as our reporters do, you will find the door open to you. But there won’t be any signs directing you there if you show up at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, nor is there any mention of the meeting location on the town’s website.
While we’re at it, let’s also mention Colonie does not put the proceedings of these agenda review sessions, any discussions had at meetings or any public comments into its meeting minutes; they are a simply list of resolutions and votes. This is perfectly legal. It is also outside the norm in this day and age, when an increasing number of towns, cities, counties and school districts are putting meeting video online or at least keeping more detailed meeting minutes.
In short, Colonie might not be breaking the provisions of the Open Meetings Law, but the town is hardly a trendsetter when it comes to accessibility. That’s why we were pleased to hear candidates for the Town Board discuss ideas for more transparency at a recent debate — including the two men who won.
Here’s hoping in the future Colonie cannot only draw up responsible budgets, but give its residents a responsible window into town government.