Gag order doesn’t serve the public good

Nevertheless, Fayette was served with a disciplinary notice because DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald had wanted to make the comment herself. Fayette was notified he was fired from his post. Then when he protested the state’s action, he was accused of insubordination, misconduct and incompetence.

Fayette later retired rather than fight the charges, ending early a 30-year dedicated career.

The state’s actions against Fayette were not only reprehensible, but they demonstrate a substantial abuse of power on behalf of our state’s executive branch.

Yet the Fayette case is only the tip of the iceberg concerning Cuomo’s throttlehold on information to which the public should have access.

Not only are government employees not talking because they fear for their jobs, but the state government spokespeople — who have less knowledge and expertise than their on-the-job peers — have been routinely ignoring or procrastinating on answering media inquiries.

When these spokespeople do return calls, they aren’t fully informed on the situation at hand, they don’t fully answer the questions asked, or they rely on a lot of “spin” rather than facts.

We at Denton Publications have experienced the above problems, and reporters across the state have also.

Another example of Cuomo excluding the public inappropriately from governmental processes was how he invoked a “Message of Necessity” to rush the SAFE Act gun control bill through the state Legislature without allowing our elected representatives nor the public appropriate time to consider the measures.

Our government should be both responsive and responsible to the people. Citizens should be armed with accurate information so they can hold government leaders accountable for their actions.

To this end, Governor Cuomo should follow the example of his father, Mario Cuomo — who when in power, had no fears about public access to information.

It’s time for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to follow in the footsteps of his father and loosen his grip on the flow of information.

We at Denton Publications believe that government should work for us and be open and forthright with the facts. Information about government operations and activities should not be restricted merely to a laundered version of the facts — or no information at all.

We believe those in power should allow, with minimum restrictions, government employees to communicate freely with the media. It’s a hallmark of democracy.

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