UPDATE: Victory! Citizens to be Heard Will Remain First Come, First Serve". Stand Down, New Rochelle. You have been heard! Mayor Noam Bramson just disclosed that he is withdrawing his proposed change to CBTH during a discussion item brought forward by Council Member Lou Trangucci at the very end of the City Council C.O.W. Meeting. "It's not worth the hassle," said Bramson in admitting defeat. That "hassle" is you! Thank you for your support in convincing the Mayor to drop his absurd and illegal proposed change to CBTH.
Mayor Noam Bramson recently announced a new policy regarding Citizens to be Heard. More on that below.
Before responding the Mayor's declaration of a new policy, I wanted to first run it by Robert Freeman, Executive Director of the New York State Committee on Open Government and get his thoughts. He has provided them today. My exchange with Freeman is published below along with a 2001 advisory opinion that addresses, in part, the questions I raised to him.
In short, Freeman says that the law is silent on public participation during a meeting of a public body but the Committee on Open Government, part of the New York Department of State, has advised that any rules adopted by a public body governing public participation at their meetings treat members of the public equally. Freeman states that he believes the policy would be found to be valid but adds "if properly adopted by the City Council".
Therein lies the rub.
The Mayor claims to have "discussed" the change with the City Council. Council Member Louis Trangucci says no one discussed it with him. Trangucci and Council Members Al Tarantino and Jared Rice have all confirmed that there was never any discussion item on a change of policy. All three have confirmed there was never any vote.
I have been unable to find anyone who recalls any prior public discussion at City Council and there is no evidence of a vote or passing of a resolution or even a show of hands on this issue.
Even if there had been a discussion or vote, where is the public outcry that would have justified the recent change?
Now, let me explain why I oppose the Mayor on this point.
[more after the jump; join us at 4 pm today on Talk of the Sound Radio to discuss]