Monday, February 19, 2007

FOIL and the IDA. A FOIL Yonkers Special

February 1, 2007 Dear Ms. Lynch: I was very sorry to hear that the YIDA Board of Directors today approved the below Resolution prior to releasing answers to the important questions and concerns the public raised at the public hearing on this matter. Agenda Item #4: "Approval of Resolution for FC Yonkers (Sales Tax Exemption on Tenant Improvements)" Public release of these questions, and the developer's responses, before a vote would be taken, was promised both at the public hearing by Board member Peter Kischak and Counsel Dennis Lynch, and at the last YIDA Board meeting of January 8, 2007. It was stated that this information would be freely provided without the submission of a FOIL request, and that public dialogue would continue until outstanding inquiries were properly addressed. Regrettably, this did not occur. (In fact, posting an agenda including this item barely 48 hours in advance of the meeting hardly gave interested residents, whose contact information you have via sign-up sheets, sufficient notice. As you are undoubtedly aware, 72 hour advance public notice is required by law for any public meeting that has been scheduled a week in advance). Yonkers residents were hopeful that your appointment as Executive Director of the Yonkers Industrial Development Agency would lead to openness and transparency in the conduct of agency business (which is indeed our, the taxpayer's, business), as intended and required by New York State law. Today's Board action is a major setback in achieving this goal and will only serve to foster public skepticism regarding the legitimacy of YIDA activities. I am therefore requesting that you meet with representatives of Community First! Development Coalition as soon as possible. Please let me know when you are available to meet. My personal e-mail address is Best Regards, Deirdre Hoare Community First! Development Coalition cc: Martin McGloin, Co-founder, Community First! Development Coalition John Larkin, President, Nepera Park-Grey Oaks Neighborhood Association


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

City of Yonkers FOIL Trail: Exclusive to FOIL Yonkers

Dear Ms. Hoare:
It is true that the opinions rendered by this office are advisory. Nevertheless, the Committee on Open Government is the sole agency designated by law to provide advice and opinions concerning the Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Laws, and we have been doing so since those laws become effective in the 1970's. Further, in cases in which the courts have cited the opinions rendered by this office, they have agreed in perhaps 90 percent of those cases. Finally and most importantly, the language of the law is clear. Section 106 of the Open Meetings Law clearly states that minutes of meetings of a public body must be prepared and made available within two weeks. Similarly, the Freedom of Information Law in §89(3) prescribes time limits within which agencies must respond to requests for records; it does not authorize agencies to respond by indicating that a request "is being handled" and that an applicant will receive a response "as soon as possible."
My advice may not be binding, but the law is.

Robert J. Freeman
Executive DirectorNYS Committee on Open Government
41 State StreetAlbany,
NY 12231(518) 474-2518 - Phone(518) 474-1927 - FaxWebsite -

Hi Mr. Freeman. I thought you would be interested in this response I received from the Yonkers FOIL officer.

Best Regards,

Deirdre Hoare

From: "FOIL"
To: "Deirdre Hoare"
Subject: RE: FOIL Requests of 11/17/06 and 11/18/06
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 10:29:34 -0500

Ms. Hoare,

Per our conversation, your request for information pertaining to the Mayor’s Charter Revision Commission is being handled and the information will be reviewed as soon as possible.

For your information, Mr. Freeman and the Committee on Open Government are responsible for advising and furnishing advisory opinions with regard to the Freedom of Information Law. Advisory opinions issued by Mr. Freeman and the Committee carry no force of law and carry no obligation on the part of a governmental entity to follow.

Yours truly,

Eric D. Arena

FOIL Officer


From: Deirdre Hoare []

Cc: Eric Arena; Frank Rubino;
Subject: FOIL Requests of 11/17/06 and 11/18/06
Importance: High

February 9, 2007

Dear Mr. Arena and Mr. Rubino:

Please see the below response from Mr. Robert Freeman of the NYS Committee on Open Government regarding the propriety of a written e-mail "appeal of denial."

As I have legally made my appeals to you in writing, I fully expect you to respond immediately to the following Appeals e-mailed on January 26, 2007:

1) Appeal of Denial #1: FOIL REQUEST-11-17-06

2) Appeal of Denial #2: FOIL REQUEST-11-18-06

I will also remind you that minutes of all public meetings are supposed to be available to the public no later than two weeks after the meeting is held; it is therefore most curious that you, representing the City of Yonkers, continue to ignore my requests for the agendas & minutes of the 2006 Charter Revision Commission meetings, and the public record (in the form of Mr. Barshov's notes) of the Charter Revision Commission 2006 public hearings.

I have attached my original FOIL requests again for your convenience.


Deirdre Hoare

From: "Robert Freeman"
Subject: RE: Dear Ms. Hoare:
Date: Mon, 05 Feb 2007 11:51:27 -0500
Dear Ms. Hoare:

I might have misunderstood your comments. I interpreted your question as
involving the propriety of making a verbal appeal. Email, however, clearly
involves a writing, and I believe that when an agency has the ability to accept
a request or an appeal transmitted via email, it is required to do so, for it
would be made in writing.

It is noted that the Freedom of Information Law was recently amended in relation
to requests made by email, as well as agencies' responsibilities to transmit
records requested vial email when they have the ability to do so. To learn more
of the amendment, information is available on our website.

I hope that I have been of assistance.


>>> "Deirdre Hoare" wrote >>>

Thank you very much, Mr. Freeman. However, I don't quite understand since isn't
a written appeal sent via e-mail legally construed to be "in writing?" <<<<<<>
Subject: Dear Ms. Hoare:
Date: Fri, 02 Feb 2007 08:48:46 -0500
Dear Ms. Hoare:

I have received your correspondence in which you asked whether the City of
Yonkers may require that an appeal made pursuant to the Freedom of Information
Law must be made in writing. In short, based on §89(4)(a) of that law, the City
may do so. That provision states in relevant part that "any person denied
access to a record may within thirty days appeal in writing such denial..."
(emphasis added).

I hope that the foregoing serves to clarify your understanding and that I have
been of assistance.

Robert J. Freeman
Executive Director
NYS Committee on Open Government
41 State Street
Albany, NY 12231
(518) 474-2518 - Phone
(518) 474-1927 - Fax
Website -


>From: Deirdre Hoare
>Date: 2007/01/29 Mon AM 09:46:41 CST
>Subject: FW: RE: Appeal of Denial #1: FOIL REQUEST-11-17-06

>Dear Mr. Freeman,
>Can you please clarify the propriety of the below request from the City of
Yonkers FOIL officer under FOIL in New York State?
>Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.
>Deirdre Hoare
>xx xxxxxx xxxxxxx, Yonkers, NY 10708


from :

Sent :
Monday, January 29, 2007 9:22 AM

To :
"Deirdre Hoare"

Subject :
RE: Appeal of Denial #1: FOIL REQUEST-11-17-06

You must send your appeal in writing.

Eric Arena

FOIL Officer


From: Deirdre Hoare []
Sent: Friday, January 26, 2007 7:06 PM
To: Frank Rubino; Eric Arena
Subject: Appeal of Denial #1: FOIL REQUEST-11-17-06

January 26, 2007

FOIL Appeals Officer

Office of the Corporation Counsel

City of Yonkers

Dear Sirs:

I am writing to appeal the constructive denial of my FOIL request dated November 17, 2006 (attached).

I await your immediate response.

Best Regards,

Deirdre Hoare
XX XXXXX XXXXXX, Yonkers, NY 10708

cc: Mr. Robert J. Freeman, Executive Director, Committee on Open Government

From: "Deirdre Hoare"
Subject: FOIL REQUEST-11-17-06
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 18:56:10 -0500

Please see the attached FOIL request.

Thank you.

Deirdre Hoare

Date: 11/17/06