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Pleasantville Trustees Say New Bill Not a Problem

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Pleasantville Village Administrator Patricia Dwyer said she sees the village having no problem complying with a new bill signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Tuesday that requires agendas and supporting documents to be made available prior to public meetings.

“We have the means to post everything online and give residents easy access so we’re fortunate in that capacity that we have that technology,” Dwyer said.

The bill, part of the New York State Open Meetings Law and sponsored by state Assembly member Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale), requires records, resolutions, laws or all matters to be discussed at an open meeting by a public body to be made available for review by the public. If they are not, the law gives citizens the right to sue the government agency.  The law requires that agendas for public meetings be made available within 24 hours of the scheduled meeting time, and that minutes of the meetings be provided within two weeks after the meeting.

On the Pleasantville village website, agendas for Village Board of Trustees meetings that are held on Monday evenings are posted by 4 p.m. on the previous Friday, officials said.  However, the agendas only feature brief general information on the items listed and meeting minutes currently were last updated on Oct. 24.  Dwyer said that with this new bill, she and Village Clerk Judy Weintraub will benefit from giving more information to residents.

“We’ve actually found in the past that when we lack information on the site or when we’re vague with items listed on the agenda we actually make it more difficult on ourselves because residents call in and ask for more information,” Dwyer said.  “If we list something like ‘Parking Laws,’ people will call in and ask ‘parking laws where?’ and we have to deal with explaining to them so we’re going to be more specific from here on,”

Dwyer said she believes the new bill will benefit local government and that transparency is vital.

“Transparency in government, on any level, just adds to legitimacy and we want to develop that trust factor with our residents,” Dwyer said.

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