Oswego County legislators debate FOIL requests

by Carol Thompson

Members of the Oswego County Legislature’s Strategic Planning and Government Committee held a lengthy debate Monday on the Freedom of Information Law and whether sitting legislators should be required to make a written request for records and information.

The committee had before them a 1998 opinion from New York State Committee on Open Government Director Robert Freeman, which referred to a former legislator seeking records.

Legislator Shawn Doyle asked if it was the most recent opinion.  County Administrator Phil Church said that the county attorney had obtained the opinion. He suggested Freeman be contacted to determine if there is a more recent opinions.
Court cases have changed the outcome of some of the older opinions.

Legislator James Karasek asked if other counties have been polled.

“Do we care?” Legislator James Oldenburg responded.

Legislator Clerk Wendy Falls, who serves as the county’s records management officer, said that she had checked with other counties and that answers varied.

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