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People’s column

Grades don’t

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Editor, OBSERVER:

Dunkirk OBSERVER gets an “F” for investigative reporting.

A recent article (May 21) headlined, “County government boards praised, criticized for openness” could be disturbing unless you explored the facts surrounding Open Meetings “scoring” of various governing bodies.

In the article there was reference to a press conference held by the New York Coalition for Open Government to share a report titled “Local Governments Mute the Public During Remote Meetings.” There was an assumption made by Paul Wolf, president that “Meetings now are being done remotely” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a false assumption, let me explain.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order 202.1, article 7 allows remote meetings to take place which had previously been prohibited. This fact in no way makes remote teleconferencing a requirement or mandate for local governments. The report was based on four criteria on how well (or not) teleconferencing activities were carried out during April. These are displayed on the coalition website.

Because the assumption is false, any conclusions drawn by the report also have to be false, but this was not investigated by the OBSERVER.

The Cassadaga Village Board was one of those receiving an “F” in spite of the fact that all meetings this year have been open to the public with no exceptions and all conducted with great care in accordance with sanitizing and social distancing guidelines.

In my opinion the report should have been investigated before writing the article. In addition, the study should be done over by the coalition, and reissued with any scoring of performance by government bodies only being done on those who have chosen to conduct remote meetings.

BILL DORMAN,

mayor, Cassadaga

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