The spat between current Rye Mayor Joe Sack and past Rye Mayor and current NY State Assemblyman Steve Otis has spilled over to to the City of Rye listserve. The origin of the spat is around what the city should do in regards to the NY State Thruway land y the I-95 & I-287 interchange.
Mayor Sack is using his "bully pulpit" of the city listserve–last week to share his letter to the governor, and now Sack is reporting Otis has filed a FOIL to get the emails of the city listserv subscribers, ostensibly to send all of us his rebuttal. MyRye.com has been told Otis already requested his missives be sent to residents via the city listserv. It appears that was denied and the FOIL seems to be plan B.
Surely this is not over…
Here is the Sack email to residents via the city listserv:
From: CITY OF RYE
Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Subject: IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM MAYOR JOE SACK
Dear fellow Rye residents,
Nobody likes to get email spam. I can't tell you how many times I have had to remove myself from the Constant Contact list of some company that somehow obtained my email address without my knowledge or consent.
The Rye City email listserve on the other hand is a voluntary distribution chain. Rye residents, like you, have signed up on the City website to receive meeting notices and agendas, and information on City issues.
Wary of abusing this goodwill, as mayor, I have made sparing but effective use of the listserve. Over the last four years, I have sent out a discerning number of informational messages to the community on varied topics.
These range from raising awareness of the good work of local not-for-profits, such as Linking Handlebars and Bread of Life, to updates on substantive issues including United Hospital and Crown Castle.
Last week, I sent out an update on the City's interest in potentially acquiring the state-owned Thruway property on the Post Road near the Port Chester border. This was not the first update I have sent out on the matter.
By way of background, Assemblyman Otis had asked the City Council to pass a home rule resolution supporting his bill, which would allow the state to sell the property to Rye Country Day School. We advised him that the Council majority was not ready to do so, and that we still wanted to explore other options whereby the City might acquire the property for public use.
There is a detailed discussion of pros and cons that we must have before we make a final decision. But we wanted to continue the conversation.
Unfortunately, Mr. Otis went ahead anyway and got the bill passed, allowing the sale to the private school. We didn't know he would do this, especially after we declined to proceed with his home rule resolution request. And we only found out by happenstance.
So I sent a letter to Governor Cuomo respectfully asking him not to sign the bill into law. And that was my update.
Mr. Otis sent us a letter in response contesting these facts, and in the process unfortunately casting aspersions on our intentions. I invited him to attend our next City Council meeting, adding his letter to our agenda, so that his assertions could be tested in plain view.
Instead, Mr. Otis has filed a FOIL request seeking your email addresses on this listserve. Presumably, he wants to bypass a public hearing and wants direct access to you in this way.
We have had local gadflies inquire about getting their hands on your personal information in the past. And we have used this space to warn you about that, so you might opt-out of the list.
But I never expected a New York State representative to do so. Regrettably, as a result, the floodgates may now be opened to anyone who wants access to your listserve email for whatever purpose.
Mr. Otis should be working to pass a law protecting our privacy; he should not be opening the door to abusing it. And I have told him that.
And sadly, I am now advising you, so that you may be guided accordingly.
Mayor Joe Sack