NEW- THE FLEECING OF THE TAXPAYER- HODGSON RUSS LEGAL BILL

*****NEW****Click on link below to be directed to the Hodgson Russ Legal Bills Jan- May 2016- THE FLEECING OF THE TAXPAYER.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B03Rg-d-K8EZYVRLTUxxVmpUNzA/view?usp=sharing


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"SUNLIGHT IS THE GREATEST DISINFECTANT"

Please, oh please, oh please, oh please let the sun shine on Hamburg Central School District.  I don't believe I'm alone when I would like to know what is going on in my District.  I believe one giant leap  towards letting the sun in would be a few simple changes in our School Board's website.  A good guide for our school board would be our neighboring districts: Frontier [click here for Frontier's website] and Orchard Park [click here for Orchard Park's website].  Hamburg's School Board can greatly make a move toward openness by doing the following:


  1. Post all minutes online. Not board briefings, actual minutes that accurately reflect the meeting
  2. Post all contact information online
  3. Hold the budget hearing before the Board votes on the budget
  4. Post the budget [click here to access 2010-2011 budget] on the School Board section of the website
    •  post what is actually spent, not just what was budgeted.*
    • post all budget lines
  5. Have a separate tab on the school website instead of hiding the School Board under the administration tab
  6. Follow Open Meetings Laws
    • Convene the meeting in public and then move to executive session
    • explain to the public why the Board is moving to executive session

I don't believe I'm asking for much.  I simply want our District to be accountable to the public and stop all the secrecy!

*A reader drew my attention to the fact that Hamburg's online budget does not record what is actually spent for the previous year and that the District is over-budgeting teacher salaries and under-budgeting administrative salaries.  Interesting....I will have to validate this information.

10 comments:

Thomas Jefferson said...

Good Luck with this idea....when will the rest of Hamburg wake up? Why dont you publish the dirt on the Hamburg School Foundation...there was a report published by NYS slamming them for their financial mismanagement around 2008. I will find and send you the link.

Anonymous said...

for your research

http://auburnpub.com/news/local/article_974e2e18-ec1f-11df-b793-001cc4c002e0.html

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you have seen this, but just in case:

I attended a meeting; and the public body closed the meeting to the public, citing "personnel matters." Is this legal?
The Law provides for closed or "executive" sessions under certain circumstances prescribed in the Law. It is noted that an executive session is not separate from an open meeting but rather is a portion of an open meeting during which the public may be excluded. The Law requires that a public body take several steps to close the meeting. First, a motion must be made during an open meeting to enter into executive session; second, the motion must identify the general area or areas of the subject or subjects to be considered; and third, the motion must be carried by a majority vote of the total membership of a public body.

Citing "personnel matters" is not a sufficient ground for going into an executive session. The motion to go into executive session should be more specific. For example, a motion could be made to enter into executive session to discuss "the employment history of a particular person." The person would not have to be identified.

It is important to point out that a public body cannot vote to appropriate public monies during a closed session. Therefore, although most public bodies (except school boards in most instances) may vote during a properly convened executive session, any vote to expend public monies must be taken in public.

The Law also states that an executive session can be attended by members of the public body and any other persons authorized by the public body.


____________________
I requested minutes of a town board meeting and was told that I could not have them until they were approved. Is this right?
No. The Law states that minutes of open meetings must be made available within two weeks of the meeting; minutes of executive sessions must be made available within one week of the executive session. It has been suggested that if the minutes have not been approved, they may be marked "draft," "unapproved," or "non-final" when they are disclosed.

_________________

http://www.dos.state.ny.us/coog/openmeetinglawfaq.html#legal

Anonymous said...

http://www.nyssba.org/clientuploads/nyssba_pdf/LegalOMLPresentations09.pdf

Absent a specific delegation of authority by the school board to act as the representative of the board for a particular purpose, individual board members have no greater rights or authority than any other qualified voter of the district (Id.). For example, individual school board members have the same right as parents or district residents to visit the schools in accordance with the procedures that apply to the public in general. They need board authorization to enter schools for official purposes, such as for building inspection or interviewing staff (Appeal of Silano, Matter of Bruno).


Records of votes must include the final vote of each board member on every matter voted on (Pub. Off. Law § 87(3)(a)). Although minutes do not have to include a verbatim account of everything said at a meeting (see above), a board may impose additional requirements by adopting a policy on minutes. a. Secret ballots are not allowed for any purpose (Smithson v. Illion Housing Auth., 130 A.D.2d 965 (4th Dep‟t 1988), aff’d 72 N.Y.2d 1034 (1988)); see also, Perez v. City University of New York, 5 N.Y.3d 522 (2005)), not even at a board‟s organizational/re-organizational meeting regarding the election of board President and Vice-President and other officers.




To invalidate an action already taken by a school board, complainants alleging a violation of the Open Meetings Law must show they were prejudiced by the board‟s failure to comply with the law (Smithson v. Illion Housing Auth., 130 A.D.2d 965 (4th Dep‟t 1988), aff’d 72 N.Y.2d 1034 (1988); Matter of Inner-City Press/Community on the Move v New York State Banking Board, 170 Misc.2d 684 (1996)).




An executive session can take place only upon a majority vote of the total membership of the board taken at an open meeting (Pub. Off. Law § 105 (1)).
a. Because it can be convened only upon a majority vote of the board in an open public meeting, a school board cannot schedule an executive session in advance (e.g. Executive Session at 6:30 p.m. and Public Meeting at 7:00 p.m.) (NYS Department of State, Committee on Open Government OML-AO-3339, July 23, 2001).
However, the meeting‟s agenda can indicate that there is a “Proposed executive session, subject to Board approval” or that “It is anticipated that
© 2009 NYS School Boards Association, Inc., Latham, New York 16
the Board will ac upon a resolution to convene an executive session (NYS Department of State, Committee on Open Government OML-AO-2426, Nov. 23, 1994).
b. The motion to go into executive session must identify the subject matter of the executive session with particularity (Gordon v. Village of Monticello, 207 A.D.2d 55 (3rd Dep‟t 1994), rev’d on other grounds, 87 N.Y.2d 124 (1995); NYS Department of State, Committee on Open Government OML-AO-3478, June 26, 2002).
(1) It is insufficient to merely regurgitate the statutory language such as “discussions regarding proposed or pending litigation, without identifying the particular litigation (Daily Gazette v. Cobleskill, 111 Misc.2d 303 (Sup. Ct. Schoharie Co. 1981)); NYS Department of State, Committee on Open Government OML-AO-3654, July 10, 2003).
(2) There is no authority to go into executive session for the purpose of discussing “personnel matters”. A school board does not need to identify who it is going to talk about, but it must disclosed what it is going to talk about (e.g. “to discuss the discipline of a particular employee”) (see NYS Department of State, Committee

Anonymous said...

http://www.nyssba.org/clientuploads/nyssba_pdf/LegalOMLPresentations09.pdf




To invalidate an action already taken by a school board, complainants alleging a violation of the Open Meetings Law must show they were prejudiced by the board‟s failure to comply with the law (Smithson v. Illion Housing Auth., 130 A.D.2d 965 (4th Dep‟t 1988), aff’d 72 N.Y.2d 1034 (1988); Matter of Inner-City Press/Community on the Move v New York State Banking Board, 170 Misc.2d 684 (1996)).




An executive session can take place only upon a majority vote of the total membership of the board taken at an open meeting (Pub. Off. Law § 105 (1)).
a. Because it can be convened only upon a majority vote of the board in an open public meeting, a school board cannot schedule an executive session in advance (e.g. Executive Session at 6:30 p.m. and Public Meeting at 7:00 p.m.) (NYS Department of State, Committee on Open Government OML-AO-3339, July 23, 2001).
However, the meeting‟s agenda can indicate that there is a “Proposed executive session, subject to Board approval” or that “It is anticipated that
© 2009 NYS School Boards Association, Inc., Latham, New York 16
the Board will ac upon a resolution to convene an executive session (NYS Department of State, Committee on Open Government OML-AO-2426, Nov. 23, 1994).
b. The motion to go into executive session must identify the subject matter of the executive session with particularity (Gordon v. Village of Monticello, 207 A.D.2d 55 (3rd Dep‟t 1994), rev’d on other grounds, 87 N.Y.2d 124 (1995); NYS Department of State, Committee on Open Government OML-AO-3478, June 26, 2002).
(1) It is insufficient to merely regurgitate the statutory language such as “discussions regarding proposed or pending litigation, without identifying the particular litigation (Daily Gazette v. Cobleskill, 111 Misc.2d 303 (Sup. Ct. Schoharie Co. 1981)); NYS Department of State, Committee on Open Government OML-AO-3654, July 10, 2003).
(2) There is no authority to go into executive session for the purpose of discussing “personnel matters”. A school board does not need to identify who it is going to talk about, but it must disclosed what it is going to talk about (e.g. “to discuss the discipline of a particular employee”) (see NYS Department of State, Committee

Anonymous said...

Absent a specific delegation of authority by the school board to act as the representative of the board for a particular purpose, individual board members have no greater rights or authority than any other qualified voter of the district (Id.). For example, individual school board members have the same right as parents or district residents to visit the schools in accordance with the procedures that apply to the public in general. They need board authorization to enter schools for official purposes, such as for building inspection or interviewing staff (Appeal of Silano, Matter of Bruno).


Records of votes must include the final vote of each board member on every matter voted on (Pub. Off. Law § 87(3)(a)). Although minutes do not have to include a verbatim account of everything said at a meeting (see above), a board may impose additional requirements by adopting a policy on minutes. a. Secret ballots are not allowed for any purpose (Smithson v. Illion Housing Auth., 130 A.D.2d 965 (4th Dep‟t 1988), aff’d 72 N.Y.2d 1034 (1988)); see also, Perez v. City University of New York, 5 N.Y.3d 522 (2005)), not even at a board‟s organizational/re-organizational meeting regarding the election of board President and Vice-President and other officers.

Anonymous said...

Do these statements conflict each other?

[U]Quote from board pres:[/U]
"...I want to advise and assure you that the board meeting and executive session on September 21,2010 were legally convened. On that date, a post audit meeting, at 6:00 p.m. The board then began its regular meeting with an anticipated executive session which was noticed to begin at 6:30 and the public portion of the regular meeting was to begin at 7:30p.m.



[U]Quote from NYS School Board Assoc:[/U]
"An executive session can take place only upon a majority vote of the total membership of the board taken at an open meeting (Pub. Off. Law § 105 (1)).
a. Because it can be convened only upon a majority vote of the board in an open public meeting, a school board cannot schedule an executive session in advance (e.g. Executive Session at 6:30 p.m. and Public Meeting at 7:00 p.m.) (NYS Department of State, Committee on Open Government OML-AO-3339, July 23, 2001)."

riefler said...

The interim superintendent is there illegally. his hiring was done behind closed doors out of the public eye...and why isnt his salary and public oath pubished in the boe minutes. here's an idea, get the minutes every month and publish. the last few months have been circulated around, and no where is ackromavitch's hiring done with the public knowledge, they just pull him out of a hat. and he never took and oath of office...go figure.

GB Shaw and Beatice Webb said...

" rerum causas cognoscere" to know the cause of things

The kid that learned from great people said...

I am a member of the hamburg class of 2010. I had problems in school, because i now realise that i was lazy. In stead of going to class, i went to the guidance office to talk. one day in may of my senior year, a teacher i had as a freshman asked me what i was going to do after graduation. Since i didnt have a plan, like the other kids in my class, i felt down. well, i learned something along the way, and it was my senior teachers who taught me this: work hard, be honest, and do the best you can... and life will hand you back opportunity. I am at college and working toward being a police officer. thank you, mrs fuerst ( i didnt like u at first, but now I wish I could be back in your class), miss stevenson ( i know how to cite a paper and understand the news, and i still volunteer b.c u made us, you made me smile too cuz we all knew u cared, period 1 semester 1 2009!!!) and thank you to mr dudek, he let me shout the voice i didnt know I had. My grades werent made up by the principal, but I learned!