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Local Leaders Say New Law Supports Transparency

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Local leaders said they are in favor in theory of a local law that was passed this week by Governor Andrew Cuomo requiring government agencies to post agendas and supporting documents for meetings online at least one day in advance.

"I think the issue of full disclosure is very nice, but the mechanics of doing it, I have my doubts," said Briarcliff Village Manager Philip Zegarelli.

Zegarelli said while agendas are always posted in advance, posting all supporting documents up to 24 hours in advance of a meeting would be challenging because sometimes he does not even have all the supporting documents at hand 24 hours before a meeting.

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale), who sponsored the law, said that situation would not be a problem in complying the law.

"If it's available, post it, and if it's not, have it available at the meeting. What you don't want to see is hiding information," Paulin said.

The state Assembly and Senate already post all their agendas and supporting documents online at least a day in advance, so there would not be much change in the way those agencies conduct business due to the law, Paulin said.

Ossining Town Supervisor Susanne Donnelly said Ossining always puts its agendas out three or four days in advance, so she doesn't see having any problems.

"I think transparency in government and getting information out to the public in a timely manner so people can decide whether or not they want to participate in the meeting is a good thing," she said.

Ossining Village Mayor William Hanauer said Ossining always posts its agendas in advance, but it doesn't always post all of the supporting documents.

"Generally I do think it's a good idea, and as the agenda is published on the web and also in live, paper form, anyone who requested it could get a copy of the background material," he said.

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