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Mud, Dirt, Garbage, Law & Order — Rye City Council Minutes from October 15, 2008

Rye city council minutes, penned by City Clerk Dawn Nodarse, have been published for the October 15th meeting. Here are the highlights. Mayor Otis and all the council members with the exception of George Pratt were in attendance.

  • Not Telling. The council was in executive session to discuss attorney/client matters for an hour. No details were available on the topic.
  • Seniors Tee Up. John Carolin, 66 Milton Road, came to report that with the help of Councilmen Ball and Sack, progress is being made to resolve the issue of seniors at the Rye Golf Club. The Recreation Commission and the Golf Commission have agreed to establish a pool and golf rate that will be compatible with the Social Membership Classification. In order to participate, seniors must be members of the Rye Seniors Organization.
  • Muddy Update re Dredging Project at the Rye Marina. Assistant City Manager Scott Pickup informed the Council that the predredge survey that discusses how much material will be removed has been completed and supplied to the contractor, which means that all of the City’s predredge requirements have been met. The contract has been signed and the bonding is acceptable to the Corporation Counsel. All permits required from the Army Corp, the New York State DEC and Connecticut DEP have been obtained and are posted at the Boat Basin. The contractor will be mobilizing the week of October 20th. However, one item still awaited is the contractor’s dump scow, which is the working craft used to remove the dredged material to the Central Long Island dump site. It must be brought from Boston, a location for mooring must be found, U.S. Coast Guard approval must be obtained and a notice sent out to mariners, after which it will be permitted to being work.
  • How to Dig for Dirt. Amendment of the City of Rye’s FOIL procedures. The council voted for a new procedure on how FOIL requests are handled. Mayor Otis summarized the issue stating that there is a ten-day rule (ten business days) in which appeals to denials of Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests must be heard under state law. It is the city’s policy, although not a requirement of law, that those appeals are heard by the city council. The ten-day rule can present a problem, especially in the summer, when a special meeting of the council must be called in order to comply. The new proposal will comply with the ten-day rule by having a determination made on the appeal by the corporation counsel, but will give applicants the option of waiving the ten-day rule in order to wait until the next scheduled city council meeting for the council to rule on the appeal. Deputy Corporation Counsel Kristen Wilson added that there is also new language deeming e-mail FOIL’s received after 5:00 p.m. to be received on the next business day.
  • Garbage in Greenhaven. No more Mamaronek garbage trucks in Greenhaven. Mayor Otis said that there are a few houses in Greenhaven that now receive garbage pickup from the Village of Mamaroneck and the City Manager working with the Village Manager of Mamaroneck has come up with an agreement that would allow garbage pickup for those houses by the City of Rye. City Manager Shew said that Councilwoman Gamache had been instrumental in advocating for this agreement. Councilwoman Gamache thanked all involved in City staff as well as the Village of Mamaroneck for their work in making this happen. She said Mamaroneck trucks make 260 visits a year through Rye to get to seven homes in Greenhaven to service them. This will save wear and tear on the roads as well as air quality issues and should be a major benefit to the people who live in the area and will improve the carbon footprint.
  • Law and Order. City Police/Court Building and Site Assessment Study. Council approved the selection of JCJ Architecture for a price of $25,000 to conduct the city police/court building site assessment study. Mayor Otis said that a Request for Proposals (RFP) has been circulated to architectural firms to analyze, on a multi-dimensional basis, the choices that the City would have for either using the existing police station for a remodeled Police State/Courthouse Facility, looking at the old CVS building (1037 Boston Post Road) that the City purchased as an option, or to review some other options. The RFP was sent to over 20 firms and responses were received from six.
  • Rye Sole Ryders Shoutout. Councilman Sack updated the Council on an item he had reported on in a previous meeting. He said that a group of over 60 walkers, including his wife, had completed a 40-mile walk for breast cancer research on the weekend of October 4th and 5th. They raised over $200,000, the highest amount raised by any team in the country.


  1. What Kristen Wilson, Shew and the Rye City Council conveniently fail to mention is what necessitated the changes in the City of Rye FOIL procedure. The City of Rye was in violation of the NYS FOIL Laws. The City of Rye FOIL policy made no provisions for receiving, responding to or how to appeal FOIL requests via E-Mail. They were advised of this some time ago, but refused to bring their FOIL procedure up to speed until now.

    To say the City of Rye FOIL procedure was changed merely to address receiving them after 5:00 p.m., is disingenuous and misleading. Then again, Shew and the Rye City Council don’t exactly follow the spirit of the FOIL Laws anyway, so this was no surprise.

  2. Dear No More Bread:

    I would appreciate it if you get your facts straight before insulting me merely for reporting the facts and for expressing my opinion.

    The City of Rye was not in compliance with the NYS Public Officer Law (FOIL) with regard to e-mail FOIL requests.

    They received several complaints that they were not in compliance and ignored the complaints.

    They refused to address it until the same complaint was filed with the NYS Committee on Open Government.

    None of this was mentioned at the Rye City Council meeting, in the City Council minutes or in this MYRYE story.

    These are indisputable facts.

  3. You wrote: “To say the City of Rye FOIL procedure was changed merely to address receiving them after 5:00 p.m., is disingenuous and misleading.”

    Please point out where this is stated in the original posting.

  4. Deputy Corporation Counsel Kristen Wilson added that there is also new language deeming e-mail FOIL’s received after 5:00 p.m. to be received on the next business day.

    This was the only mention of any changes to the City of Rye FOIL procedure with regard to e-mail FOIL requests. Since the City of Rye had no procedure whatsoever concerning e-mail FOIL requests prior to this, which was contrary to the NYS Public Officers Law, they had to create a policy to receive them and to respond to them. It was disingenuous and misleading to only say there was new language as far as receiving them after 5:00 p.m.

    This is the current City of Rye FOIL procedure located on the City of Rye website as of today. I note that the changes voted on by the Rye City Council on October 17, 2008 still have not been made. I also note there is no mention in this policy on how to request, receive or respond to e-mail FOIL requests.


    Here is the NYS Public Officers Law pertaining to e-mail FOIL requests:

    (b) All entities shall, provided such entity has reasonable means available, accept requests for records submitted in the form of electronic mail and shall respond to such requests by electronic mail, using forms, to the extent practicable, consistent with the form or forms developed by the committee on open government pursuant to subdivision one of this section and provided that the written requests do not seek a response in some other form.

    Here is another section of the NY Public Officers Law with regard to e-mail FOIL requests and responses. The City of Rye routinely disregards this section:

    • Scanning Records in Response to a Request

    It is our view that if an agency has the ability to scan records in order to transmit them via email and doing so will not involve any effort additional to an alternative method of responding, it is required to do so. For example, when copy machines are equipped with scanning technology that can create electronic copies of records as easily as paper copies, and the agency would not be required to perform any additional task in order to create an electronic record as opposed to a paper copy, we believe that the agency is required to do so. In that instance, transferring a paper record into electronic format would eliminate any need to collect and account for money owed or paid for preparing paper copies, as well as tasks that would otherwise be carried out. In addition, when a paper record is converted into a digital image, it remains available in electronic format for future use.

    In sum, when an agency has the technology to scan a record without an effort additional to responding to a request in a different manner, and a request is made to supply the record via email, in our opinion, the agency must do so to comply with the Freedom of Information Law.

  5. Are you frickin serious?

    The MAJORITY of the article is about the “Ten-Day Rule.” The last sentence is about the 5:00pm cut-off. Wow — talk about picking and choosing your talking points. No wonder why nobody takes you serious.



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