Letters to the Editor

Yorktown Town Board Shows Contempt for Law

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We’re a country of laws. Whether we agree with them or not, as citizens we’re bound by those laws until they’re either ruled unconstitutional by the court or changed by our lawmakers.

Our elected officials take an oath to uphold those laws.

All of which makes it a sad, very sad day, when we see our elected officials not only openly and flagrantly violating the law but also disobeying and defying the clear instructions of a Supreme Court justice.

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Both Supervisor Grace and town attorney Michael McDermott are being totally disingenuous and dishonest in their choice of words. They’re throwing out red herrings in an effort to hide their illegal and unethical actions.

Supervisor Grace is trying to obfuscate the issue. He says the Town Board hasn’t made a decision yet about whether to hire a deputy town engineer. But that’s not the issue.

The issue is that the board discussed creating a new position (the town hasn’t had a deputy town engineer for over a dozen years) in a closed executive session—despite having been told by Supreme Court Justice Linda Jamieson that the Open Meetings Law requires staffing discussions to be conducted in an open meeting.

Supervisor Grace is trying to make you believe that the deputy town engineer discussions were a “personnel issue” that can be discussed in closed session. Here again, he’s being disingenuous. The deputy engineer discussions were staffing discussions about creating a new position and not personnel discussions about the employment history of a “particular person” that can be discussed in executive session.

As for Mr. McDermott’s specious comment that Judge Jamieson never gave the town an “order,” I suggest he reread the 28 page transcript of the hearing, during which Judge Jamieson says at least four times that staffing discussions, such as creating a new position, must be held in open session—and Mr. McDermott agrees with her—four times.

Judge Jamieson: I don’t know that you have to order this because I think Mr. McDermott will make it clear to him (Supervisor Gr ace) what the law is. And that the court has said that staffing must be an open meeting.”

It couldn’t be any clearer.

Once again, Supervisor Grace and his colleagues on the Town Board have violated our trust. They have shown contempt for the law, contempt for the courts and contempt for the people of Yorktown.

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