Brian Pugh: Improving Access to Public Documents

To the Editor:brian-pugh-group-cropped

As many of you know, New York’s Freedom of Information Law, known as FOIL, guarantees the public, individually and collectively, access to the records of government. To facilitate this access, the Village of Croton has recently published a “Freedom of Information” page on the Village website, accessible from the “Citizen Action Center” on the home page, and at the following URL: crotononhudson-ny.gov/Public_Documents/CrotonHudsonNY_Information.

The new page features:

1. The text of the Freedom of Information Law
2. A form for the online submittal of a Freedom of Information Law Request to the Village of Croton-on-Hudson for specific documents
3. A subject matter list of Village documents
4. Instructions on appealing a FOIL decision
5. Information about the Freedom of Information Law
6. Links to the NYS Committee on Open Government Home page, FOIL Advisory Opinions, Case Law Summaries and Open Meetings Law/FOIL educational videos.

I appreciate the alacrity with which my suggestion for the new Freedom of Information page was met. I also appreciate the Deputy Mayor’s suggestion that I draft the text of the new page. Thanks also to the staff for their continued work in responding to FOIL requests.

Not only is sunshine the best disinfectant, as the saying goes, but transparency and public information are essential to self-government and accountable public administration. I hope that this new page is the first step in a new era of enhanced access to pubic documents and citizen self-education and empowerment.

Sincerely, Brian Pugh

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