Public deserves more information on NAACP complaint

Published Sep 20, 2018 at 4:00pm

Recently, the Daily Sentinel published an account of a Rome Board of Education public meeting held on September 13. During that meeting, members of the local NAACP referenced disparaging comments about welfare recipients that one unnamed board member had posted on social media in March of this year. 

Board President Paul Fitzgerald said he had spoken to the member in private and the matter was resolved, whatever that means. Two board members asked that the name of that member be revealed but Fitzgerald expressed a need for private discussion “in executive session.”

New York’s Open Meetings Law restricts matters that may be discussed by public bodies behind closed doors such as matters that will imperil public safety or disclose the identity of a law enforcement agent for example. When Fitzgerald stated the purpose of the executive session he did not cite any of the eight matters permitted by law. 

In other words, the public deserves to know the identity of any member that holds views contrary to that of a “tolerant and welcoming community” so that we can give the board, a governmental body, an informed consent of the governed. 

— Frank Corradino, Rome