quacks were like a duck..
So was it a meeting, and were there reasons to believe it was a meeting? Town property is not county property, is not state property, is not district property. For a state representative to use Town Hall, she would need to ask permission. Of course, that permission would be granted, but one might assume that the state representative is a guest of the Town Board. There might, or perhaps should be a procedure for use of a town property for other branches of government, or perhaps they could just come as guests of the Town Board.
Is there another procedure? Was there a vote to allow Senator Serino to use a town facility for her non-conversation? Or was it merely scheduled sort of as agenda would be for a town meeting? It was not announced by the usual methods, but it was announced by several mechanisms, and it was announced publicly, without any restrictions as to who was allowed to attend. So that means that it was a public meeting on public property, not just attended by Town Board members. They were not in the audience with the rest of the townsfolk; they were on the dais. Sitting up on the dais gives the impression of some official capacity, even if they were unclear about their official capacity. Perhaps that is because it was more political than official, but that would then create even more problems for all of them.
So then, can we assume that we have a public meeting? Senator Serino has a local office. She can talk to any residents there without any concern about their discomfort with videotaping. Why would she even schedule a public meeting to talk to residents without scheduling videotaping for the rest of us, especially since this lone meeting to talk to us was at such a difficult hour for many, right after a holiday weekend? That would have headed off any fear that an individual might edit the videotape unfavorably. The official tape would have tv time, and streaming media, and Senator Serino could have posted that tape herself. Videotape has become a powerful tool in our culture.
The reality is that Senator Serino had already spoken to counsel about shutting down public scrutiny. She never named her counsel, but clearly, it was already her intention to shut out the public. And she had the deputy present to “bounce” undesirables. She had a man shunned from a public meeting. Really???
She, presumably, has bullet points put out by a local pol on a facebook page, and she thinks that is better than open and honest communication? She says that she is all about transparency, but she continued her non-conversation as if she hadn’t just abused her office, and misused the deputy’s office to keep the public out of a meeting in our building.
Senator Serino’s job is to make the rules about public meetings, use of public space, open meetings, in other words, the laws she so cavalierly broke.