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What happened to Open Government?

To the Editor:

On July 9, 2014, knowing Town Justice Paye is not running for re-election, the Willsboro Town Board eliminated the second Town Justice effective December 31, 2014 as a cost savings measure. Posting a meeting agenda in advance on their website or scheduling a public hearing to solicit comment on this important resolution, would be good “open government.” They did not do that. If this is the correct decision for the Town, why not hear public comment first?

We have little say at the Federal and State levels of Government, but I expected more from our Town Board. A public hearing may not change their final decision, but at least “we, the people” would be able to speak to the issue.

Town Justices are the only elected positions that might personally impact every resident. Residents can be defendants in civil, traffic, or criminal matters. Residents might be the subjects of a wedding performed or be a party to a dog complaint. Then there are the victims, who look to the Town Justice for justice and/or protection.

I am confident that Justice Dickerson is doing an excellent job, but he has only seven months experience and is related to many residents, producing many conflicts of interest. There will be additional compensation for his extra workload. The court nights will undoubtedly be reduced from 4 to 2. How much are they saving and at what cost to taxpayer convenience?

If you want to know what Town Justice Paye thinks about it, call him. He didn’t get to express his thoughts to the Town Board because he was not invited to address the Town Board.

Barbara Paye,

Willsboro

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