Resident demands access to town records

To the editor: Councilman Kenneth Fenimores letter to the editor in the Aug. 8, 2008 edition of the Valley News insinuating that my FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request for copies of fuel invoices are nothing more than a political maneuver and very time consuming could not be further from the truth. Mr. Fenimore and his brother-in-law, supervisor Noel Merrihew, should take the time to read section 29(4) of the Town Law. That provision states that the supervisor shall keep an accurate and complete account of the receipt and disbursement of all moneys which shall come into his hands by virtue of his office, in books of account in the form prescribed by the state department of audit and control for all expenditures under the highway law and in books of account provided by the town for all other expenditures. Such books of account shall be public records, open and available for inspection at all reasonable hours of the day, and, upon the expiration of his term, shall be filed in the office of the Town Clerk. If supervisor Noel Merrihew would comply with the Town Law as it relates to his duties, FOIL requests such as mine would not be necessary. Twice in the past few weeks, I have personally requested to see copies of financial documents from Mr. Merrihew, only to be told that I would need to file a FOIL request. His reluctance to release the documents requested in a timely manner, as prescribed by the Department of States Committee on Open Government, lead me to believe that there is more to the excessive usage of gasoline this past winter at the Cobble Hill Golf Course than meets the eye. As taxpayers whose money is being spent and who pay his salary, we deserve nothing less than the truth. Malcolm Martin, Registered Republican Editors Note: Supervisor Merrihew holds that detailed records of the Towns revenues and expenses are kept at the town hall with receipts from every transaction. According to Merrihew, he is within his legal rights to deny direct access to the original records since close supervision is required to ensure that the records are kept secure and properly organized.

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