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"Each house of the legislature shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish the same... The doors of each house shall be kept open..." 


The Unconstitutionality of Public Officers Law §108.2(b) --
& THE TEST of Candidates seeking appointment
as the New Executive Director of the NYS Committee
on Open Government --

& NOW THE TEST of its New Executive Director Shoshanah Bewlay




Background correspondence --

Executive Director Bob Freeman's March 8, 2017 e-mail --
"Emailing - 1985 pdf"   attachment

Executive Director Freeman's March 8, 2017 e-mail --
"1986 pdf"   attachment

CJA's March 8, 2017 e-mail to Director Freeman
"great! -- RE: Emailing - 1985 pdf"

CJA's March 9, 2017 e-mail to Director Freeman --
"Your April 11, 1985 advisory opinion #OML-AO-1158 -- & other records pertaining to the 1985 amendment to the Open Meetings Law: Public Officers Law

Director Freeman's March 9, 2017 e-mail --
"FW: attached Image"
attachment #1   attachment #2    attachment #3

CJA's March 9, 2017 e-mail to Director Freeman --
"please advise when is the next meeting of the Committee on Open Government
& confirm that my requests will be included on its agenda"



CJA's September 16, 2019 e-mail to Assistant Director Kirstin O'Neill --
"The Unconstitutionality of Public Officers Law §108.2(b) -- & the Test of Candidates seeking appointment as the New Executive Director of the NYS Committee on Open Government"

CJA's September 24, 2019 e-mail to Assistant Director O'Neill
"FOIL REQUEST:  Records reflecting the date, time, and place of the Committee on Open Government's next meeting and its agenda"

Assistant Director O'Neill's September 24, 2019 response

CJA's September 24, 2019 reply --
"Thank you --  & further FOIL REQUESTS: 
Committee on Open Government rules & procedures, info about its members & chair --
& website"

Assistant Director O'Neill's September 25, 2019 response

indicated links:  Dept of State calendar of events: https://www.dos.ny.gov/about/calendar.html

 Dept. of State meeting notices: https://www.dos.ny.gov/about/newsroom.html

 Committee on Open Gov't promulgates regulations, though not governing Committee operations:  https://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/regscoog.html

Assistant Director O'Neill's September 30, 2019 response

CJA's October 3, 2019 FOIL/Records Request --
"(1) rules & regulations governing the Committee on Open Government's operations;
(2) appointments of its members; (3) selection of its executive director"

October 3, 2019 auto-reply from Associate Director O'Neill

Dept of State's October 10, 2019 acknowledgment

Dept of State's November 8, 2019 response/extension

Dept. of State's December 24, 2019 response/extension


CJA's January 13, 2020 e-mail to Committee
on Open Gov't Executive Director Shoshanah Bewlay --
"Request for Advisory Opinion -- Unconstitutionality of Public Officers Law §108.2(b), as established by Article III, §10 of the New York State Constitution"

Open Gov't Executive Director Bewlay's February 12, 2020 e-mail



Gov's March 12, 2013 press release: "Governor Cuomo Announces Appointments to the Committee on Open Government"


Members of the Commission on Open Government

RoAnn M. Destito -- Commissioner of the Office of General Services
Peter D. Grimm -- Democratic Minority Leader/Rensselaer Co. Legislature
M. Jean Hill -- former news anchor-Buffalo
Kathy Hochul, Esq. -- Lieutenant Governor
Hadley Horrigan -
Robert Mujica, Jr.
Rosanna Rosado -- Secretary of State
David A. Schulz, Esq. -- media lawyer
Stephen B. Waters -- Rome Daily Sentinel Publisher
Meredith S. Weill, Esq. -- lawyer
Franklin H. Stone -- Chair



Public Officers Law, Article VI -- §89(1):

1. (a) The committee on open government is continued and shall consist of the lieutenant governor or the delegate of such officer, the secretary of state or the delegate of such officer, whose office shall act as secretariat for the committee, the commissioner of the office of general services or the delegate of such officer, the director of the budget or the delegate of such officer, and seven other persons, none of whom shall hold any other state or local public office except the representative of local governments as set forth herein, to be appointed as follows: five by the governor, at least two of whom are or have been representatives of the news media, one of whom shall be a representative of local government who, at the time of appointment, is serving as a duly elected officer of a local government, one by the temporary president of the senate, and one by the speaker of the assembly. The persons appointed by the temporary president of the senate and the speaker of the assembly shall be appointed to serve, respectively, until the expiration of the terms of office of the temporary president and the speaker to which the temporary president and speaker were elected. The four persons presently serving by appointment of the governor for fixed terms shall continue to serve until the expiration of their respective terms. Thereafter, their respective successors shall be appointed for terms of four years. The member representing local government shall be appointed for a term of four years, so long as such member shall remain a duly elected officer of a local government. The committee shall hold no less than two meetings annually, but may meet at any time. The members of the committee shall be entitled to reimbursement for actual expenses incurred in the discharge of their duties.

(b) The committee shall:

i. furnish to any agency advisory guidelines, opinions or other appropriate information regarding this article;
ii. furnish to any person advisory opinions or other appropriate information regarding this article;
iii. promulgate rules and regulations with respect to the implementation of subdivision one and paragraph (c) of subdivision three of section eighty-seven of this article;
iv. request from any agency such assistance, services and information as will enable the committee to effectively carry out its powers and duties; and
v. develop a form, which shall be made available on the internet, that may be used by the public to request a record; and
vi. report on its activities and findings regarding articles six and seven of this chapter, including recommendations for changes in the law, to the governor and the legislature annually, on or before December fifteenth.

2. (a) The committee on open government may promulgate guidelines regarding deletion of identifying details or withholding of records otherwise available under this article to prevent unwarranted invasions of personal privacy. In the absence of such guidelines, an agency may delete identifying details when it makes records available."


Public Officers Law, Article VII -- §109.

"Committee on open government.   The committee on open government, created by paragraph (a) of subdivision one of section eighty-nine of this chapter, shall issue advisory opinions from time to time as, in its discretion, may be required to inform public bodies and persons of the interpretations of the provisions of the open meetings law."



Executive Order #3 "Promotion of Public Access to Government Decisionmaking"


August 13, 2019
"Open Government expert's removal offers opportunity to boost open meetings law"
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (Meaghan McDermott)

August 27, 2019
"Now Hiring: After scandal, New York looking for new open-government expert"
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (Chad Arnold)

October 4, 2019
"Holding the government accountable requires leaders who respect the law"
Crain's (editorial)

January 6, 2020
"Cuomo appoints new director for Committee on Open Government"
Utica Observer-Dispatch (Chad Arnold)

January 6, 2020
"New York's open government panel has new leader
after disgraced head fired for sexual misconduct
New York Daily News (Denis Slattery)

January 6, 2020
"Bewlay to head state Committee on Open Government"
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

January 6, 2020
"Cuomo appoints NY lawyer to serve as 'open government' advocate"
Syracuse.com (Mark Weiner)

January 9, 2020
"Open government applies to state agencies equally"
The Citizen-Auburnpub.com (editorial)

January 12, 2020
"New open government chief faces a tough road"

January 14, 2020
"State's new 'open government' expert was hired in secret"
Albany Times Union (Chris Bragg)  & here

January 15, 2020
"Andrew Cuomo doesn't believe in sunlight"
Albany Times Union (Chris Churchill)

January 15, 2020
"Non-transparency start for new transparency chief"
Daily Gazette (editorial)

January 15, 2020
"Assemblyman Walczyk:
appointment of Shoshanah Bewlay to the Committee on Open Government

January 16, 2020
"FOILed Again: an apparent step back for Freedom of Information in New York"
Daily News (editorial)

January 17, 2020
"New Open Government executive isn't off to a strong start"
Niagara Gazette (Mia Summerson)  & here (Bragg article - Jan 16, 2020)

January 18, 2020
"Hoping for a fair open government director"
Post-Star (editorial)

January 18, 2020
"There's a cloud over openness"
Albany Times Union (editorial)

January 19, 2020
"Andrew Cuomo's secretive approach to transparency"
New York Post (editorial)

February 20, 2020
"An Interview With New York's New Open Government Czar"
Gothamist (Christopher Robbins)





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