SARANAC LAKE - A majority of the town of Harrietstown board has rejected a request from the Enterprise to issue a "Sunshine Week Open Government Proclamation" that pledges the town's support for government transparency and says the town will work to enhance public access to government records and information.
Enterprise Managing Editor Peter Crowley had asked towns and villages in and around its coverage area as well as Essex and Franklin counties, to consider issuing the proclamation to mark Sunshine Week, which runs March 13-19. Supervisors of the towns of Moriah, Crown Point, Chesterfield and Lewis have said they plan to introduce the proclamation at upcoming board meetings. The town of Jay and the village of Saranac Lake have already approved the proclamation as has the Franklin County Board of Legislators.
But Harrietstown Councilman Jim Murnane said he didn't think it was necessary.
"We have been and will continue to be open and forthcoming at every turn," Murnane said at Thursday night's town board meeting. "If there's a village, town or county board that's not being forthcoming, maybe they should have to pass such a resolution. But I don't think it's necessary for us to do so. My take is that when we all got elected to office, we pledged to do this."
"I've been doing this for 15 years," added Councilman Barry DeFuria, "and we've properly advertised every meeting and kept everything above board."
Councilman Bob Bevilacqua said he would have supported issuing the proclamation if it came from the state Committee on Open Government instead of the newspaper. The Sunshine Week proclamation the Enterprise recommended was issued by the American Society of News Editors.
When it came to a vote, Supervisor Larry Miller was the only member of the board to support issuing the proclamation, and the resolution failed.
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