The following Letter to the Editor is from Rye Councilman Joe Sack. Note, readers can see the referenced Rye Golf Club FOIL'd documents.
As a councilman, I believe that it is my responsibility to ask tough questions, and to demand straight answers. Unfortunately, my questions surrounding recent issues at Rye Golf Club have gone mostly unanswered. The key to faith and trust in our government is disclosure and transparency. The city needs to ensure that faith and trust by revealing immediately everything that there is to know about this matter.
Over two months ago, on July 21, I submitted an e-mail request to the city manager – the individual who is hired by the city council to run the city – asking him for information on RM Staffing. I never received a response from the city manager. Instead, I received an e-mail from the mayor telling me that he was handling this and that he’d get back to us. When I pressed for information directly from the city manager, the mayor suggested that I was not entitled to ask for information unless a majority of the council supported my request.
On September 13, I learned that a Rye citizen had submitted a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request to the city on this same topic, and had been provided with a partial response, including various billing records. Having still never heard back from the city manager or the mayor, I submitted my own FOIL request for a full accounting on this matter. To this very day, I have yet to receive a response to my FOIL request.
On September 19, and as reported in the September 21 edition of the Sound Shore Review, I was disheartened to learn that the mayor called me “ugly and dirty” in connection with my repeated efforts to obtain information. The deputy mayor followed up the mayor’s comments in an e-mail calling this matter “tiresome,” one of many “mini-controversies” that would “amount to less than a hill of beans,” a “faux cause célèbres,” the “latest mini-drama,” and “just another Rye City Council sideshow.” He urged the council to focus on the “real challenges” that face the city. These comments were similar to comments he made at previous council meetings in regard to my objection that recent ethics matters – including the Andrew Dapolite matter – had not been handled properly.
On my own, I have since been able to piece together parts of the Rye Golf Club story through conversations with members of the golf commission and the public, a review of documents FOIL’d by members of the public, a review of videotaped golf commission meetings, and a review of partial pieces of information subsequently parceled out by the city manager. But we need the city to tell the entire story now.
When I, as a city councilman, am ignored or thwarted in my attempts to seek information, it is a big problem. Because my requests are made on behalf of the people of Rye. And when my requests are disrespected, the public is being disrespected. That needs to stop now.
Rye City Councilman