January 12, 2017
ALBANY, NY – On Thursday afternoon, WLEA News caught up with Robert Freeman, from the New York State Office of Open Government, to get his reaction to the Wednesday, January 12th Hartsville Town Board meeting. At that meeting, newly elected Town Supervisor John Bowles tried to prevent Hartsville Town Board member Jim Perry from voting on a resolution, and Supervisor Bowles ejected Hartsville resident Larry Newhart for speaking out about an alleged agreement between John Bowles and Everpower (Baron Winds).
Here’s what Freeman said about Supervisor Bowles trying to prevent board member Jim Perry from passing a resolution:
“The supervisor is 1 out of 5, he doesn’t make the rules, his job is to preside. The 3 out of the 5 could override the supervisor, despite the feelings or beliefs of the supervisor. The supervisor doesn’t make the rules.”
Freeman’s reaction to Larry Newhart being thrown out for speaking without permission:
“The open meetings law says that the right of the public is to be present, it says nothing at all about the public’s right to speak. If the board doesn’t want public comment, they don’t have to have it. Then, according to whom is speech ‘unreasonable.’ How do you determine what’s unreasonable and what’s not? For a board to pick and choose which individuals it considers to be reasonable or otherwise without any sort of standard, is in my opinion, unreasonable.”