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Saturday, December 4, 2021
Home Government Time to Digitize Official Legal Notices; MyRye.com Volunteers

Time to Digitize Official Legal Notices; MyRye.com Volunteers

Each year Rye City designates an "official City newspaper" for the purposes of publishing legal notices. And each year the Journal News newspaper in White Plains is designated by city council vote. This vote will take place once again at this Wednesday's Rye city council meeting.

This seems anachronistic at best and may be an opportunity for Rye to put its digital foot forward. Within the last year or so, Rye City has digitized its council agenda and supporting documents and it recently added live streaming video for council meetings. These are important (and should be expected) steps in government transparency.

Now it is time to digitize official legal notices.

MyRye.com officially volunteers (you heard it here first), without cost, to allow Rye City to publish all Rye City legal notices on its web site. In turn, we'd like to city Rye City eliminate its designation of an "official City newspaper" and any related costs.

Having an official notice point is important to a functioning government. And there was a time when the local paper was the most timely and least costly option for achieving that notice. That time is over. Digital disclosure is instant and pervasive. And for the few that do not have home Internet access, the Rye Free Reading Room offers public computer access.

MyRye.com got in touch with Mayor Doug French late last week and he seems at least open to the alternative although he said it may be a state regulation. He has asked city counsel Kristen Wilson to provide some insight. If it is a state issue it seems like a politically viable one–go digital, eliminate costs, promote government transparency and notice and encourage citizen engagement.

What's not to like?

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I’m afraid it’s likely beyond their pay grade Jay. Why not post the state and city statutes here and let everyone take a look? As an ex-newspaper publisher, I know much of the language we are likely to see will be protective of traditional long standing paid circ products.

  2. The purpose of posting the legal notice is to make sure the public is timely informed of certain issues. This is required by law. You and I know that almost no one reads those notices and that their original purpose is not truly being met.

    That being said, I’m guessing that (in this instance) the ‘legal’ world is not ready for just electronic notices. The main argument will be that, not only does everybody not have access to the Internet, but those that don’t are disproportionately lower income.

  3. This issue is not unique to Rye City. There are hundreds, if not thousands of government entities that need to publish legal notices but the struggling newspapers push hard to keep the ancient laws unchanged so they can gouge taxpayers and small businesses.

    While MyRye.com is a good place to post notices, wouldn’t a better place be a site like http://legal-notice.org/ which will be seen by a greater audience? Isn’t that the big concern here, getting public notices to as much of the public as possible?

    The laws will catch up with today’s technology; it’s just a matter of time.

    I applaud MyRye.com for taking the initiative on this issue.

  4. Nick-Thanks for turning me on to http://legal-notice.org . As someone who is interested in this issue, I realized from reading that site’s coverage, that this is a national issue. Local governments all over are doing the right thing and attempting to take on the newspapers and publish their own notices. Reasons? 1.) less expensive 2.) Environmentally responsible 3.) Greater disclosure because notices can have much greater detail. 4.) Published quicker (don’t have to wait for weekly newspaper deadlines 5.) Be clear, the independence issue is one to be taken seriously. I am not in favor of the government posting and hosting their own notices. Kudos to Rye Mayor Doug French for attempting to do the right thing with taxpayers money!

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