Although not much surprises us much in politics, we occasionally see things that make us shake our heads. One of those instances has arisen in the past 24 hours, during which time multiple sources familiar with the situation told us that City of Lockport Alderman Jack Smith revealed to the council that he has been secretly recording executive session meetings of the city council. Smith, who is abandoning his council seat in a run for mayor of the city, has been secretly recording the council's executive sessions for the past year.
Frankly, Smith's Nixonian approach to governing is very disturbing. Executive sessions are confidential proceedings for a reason, which has been defined by law. While we're not going to speculate on Smith's motives or intentions, the fact that he is willing to stoop to such levels for what appears to be his personal political gain is unconscionable. It also completely undermines any semblance of trust within that room when council members get together to discuss issues which fall under the purview of executive session.
Smith needs to answer for this underhanded tactic; he owes an explanation to his colleagues on the council, and more importantly, he needs to explain to the people who elected him why he feels it's necessary to resort to secretly tape record these meetings. He also needs to explain to the voters who he expects to vote for him for mayor why he's done what he's done. Given Smith's track record, we won't hold our breath.
Nonetheless, we have serious concerns about the legality of Smith's actions. We strongly encourage Niagara County District Attorney Michael Violante to investigate Smith's tapings to determine if any laws have been violated. If nothing else, the public's trust in Smith has been violated.