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Saugerties Blanket Denial FOIL Requests

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saugerties town hall
The town of Saugerties, NY has an item on their meeting agenda to deny “any and all” requests and appeals under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) for records regarding resignations and retirements for town employees on the basis of “personal privacy”.
Adopting a blanket denial policy regarding FOIL requests is a violation of the law. Government officials have a duty to review each record request to determine whether records are required to be released or not.
Government employees have less privacy rights due to their public employment and the public has a right to view retirement or resignation letters.
Just last month the Saugerties Police Chief while suspended due to a sexual assault investigation left his employment and the public rightfully questioned whether he retired or resigned.
When town board members were asked by a reporter about this policy proposal they were unavailable or declined to respond. One town board member’s response was “next question”.
Town board members did not have the courage to say it but In the future they want to keep the public in the dark regarding messy investigations, retirements and resignations.

The Author

Paul is the founder of the NY Coalition For Open Government and has truly loved seeing it become what it is today and is excited about its future growth.

As an attorney for 32 years, he is a partner in the law firm of Berzer & Wolf. Prior to his private law practice, Paul served in several government positions with the Buffalo Common Council, Buffalo Housing Authority, and Erie County.

When he is not practicing law and doing open government stuff, Paul enjoys spending time with his spouse, Cheryl, and his three children, Michael, Joseph, and Julia. Paul resides in Amherst, NY, a suburb of Buffalo.

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