The Ellicott Town Board may have violated the New York State Open Meetings Law during their meeting on March 13, 2023, when they decided to eliminate one elected Town Justice position without proper public notice or discussion.
The board went into an executive session under the guise of discussing litigation, as permitted by §105.1(d) of the Open Meetings Law, but subsequently adopted Resolution #1-2023 to abolish the Town Justice position after emerging from the private session. This decision was not included in the meeting agenda, nor was it discussed in a public forum or with input from taxpayers and the affected judges.
By not transparently addressing the subject matter in an open meeting and failing to involve the public in the decision-making process the board's actions appear to be in violation of the Open Meetings Law. Although it is unclear whether the board intentionally violated the Open Meetings Law, their actions warrant further examination to ensure transparency and proper public involvement in the decision-making process.
Some members who were present have acknowledged that they discussed the elimination of the Justice Position during the Executive Session, which was closed to the public. This discussion appears to be contrary to the permissible provisions outlined in Section §105, "Conduct of executive sessions," of the New York State Open Meetings Law.
NYS OPEN MEETING LAW