The hallmarks of an effective government are not only the programs and policies it enacts, but equally important is the manner in which it conducts the public’s business. It must be honest, open, and transparent and take account of the needs and desires of all of the citizens and organizations it serves. Sadly, these attributes have sharply declined in our village in the recent past, and Croton United pledges to reinstate them and to return village government to you, the people of Croton.
We believe that the members of the Village Board are, in effect, your employees, hired by us to conduct the public’s business. As such, the primary function of the Board is to deliver a high level of municipal services to all of the citizens of the Village in the most efficient and economic manner possible. This requires, among other things, that all members of the Board should be kept fully informed of all actions taken on behalf of the village by any Board member or by the village staff. Further, we believe the Village Board should seek input from the entire community. It should foster free and open discussion between the proponents and opponents of all issues before the Board, both among Board members and with the public. The community should be comfortable that our elected officials are acting in our best collective interest and members of the public should not have to continuously monitor their performance.
We will keep you informed, in a timely manner, regarding the actions your Village Board is taking in your name. If elected, we will institute a policy of proactive disclosure of public documents, and in so doing, both increase the transparency of our village government and reduce the level of resources – both village employee time and tax dollars – that the current administration spends responding to Freedom of Information Law requests. We accept FOIL’s core principle that public documents are presumptively public, and will end the current administration’s policy of responding to resident FOIL requests with only the narrowest, most restrictive disclosures possible.
We believe that the Board has an affirmative obligation to do more than simply let the public know what decisions it has made. Throughout its entire process, all members of the Board must be committed to conducting public business publicly, rather than in secret and behind closed doors. We will end the current Board’s practice of improperly meeting in executive session to discuss topics that, according to the Open Meetings Law should be discussed publicly, such as the Gouveia acquisition. We further pledge to find a cost-effective means of creating a video record of Village Board work sessions. Work sessions are the meetings at which most of the Board’s decisions are made, and yet no minutes of these meetings are produced. They are audio recorded as a result of citizen pressure, but this is not enough. If elected, we will find a cost-effective means of videotaping Village Board work sessions, and in so doing, ensure that the public has an full understanding of the process of governing this village.