Received via email from Somerset Supervisor Rich Meyers:
I have been somewhat of a topic in a few of the postings on your blog. I have a couple topics of my own that may be interesting to some folks. They have to do with FOIL requests and the legality of an elected Town Supervisor and Chief Financial Officer being denied access to records concerning legal bills.
Becky Connolly, Somerset's Town Clerk, blacked out 80% of legal documents that were FOIL'd prior to my winning the Supervisor's seat, refused to release them to me for review after I took office, and proposed the eventual change to the Town Law that stated that all rejected FOIL request would be appealed to the Town Supervisor. They are now appealed to the Town Board.
Mrs. Connolly recently sent a letter to the fine folks of Somerset accusing me of lying about her and of trying to get her to break the law by issuing this request. Her accusations are humorous at best and slanderous at worst.
What was the basis for all of these decisions? According to Clerk Connolly, Robert Freeman, Director of the Committee on Open Government and personal friend of hers, is the authority behind all of these decisions. Ironically, Mr. Freeman wrote an opinion (FOIL-AO-14270, September 30, 2003) that contradicts redacting most of a legal billing for anyone, let alone a Town Supervisor.
I am not going to accuse anyone of hiding anything, but it is odd that such drastic efforts are being undertaken to protect a bill for services rendered. I ask you why?
Thank you for your time and I truly appreciate such a high quality BlogSpot.
Richard J. Meyers
Supervisor, Town of Somerset