Transparency News 8/29/19



August 29, 2019


Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
Contact us at


stories of national interest

For the first time in more than four decades, New York is looking for someone to lead the state Committee on Open Government, which provides advice to the public and officials on government transparency. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration posted a job listing for the committee's executive director position last week, nearly two months after Robert Freeman, who held the post since 1974, was fired after a state's Inspector General's office investigation found he acted in a "sexually inappropriate manner" toward a female reporter. The Committee on Open Government serves as an internal expert on the state's Freedom of Information and Open Meetings laws, which lay out what types of documents and meetings are and are not open to the general public. Good-government organizations called on the Cuomo administration to hire a truly independent expert.
Democrat & Chronicle

The NYPD must cough up the names of almost all of its retirees and their pensions so the information can be published online by a watchdog group that tracks tax spending, a Manhattan judge has ruled. The order marked a major victory for the conservative Empire Center for Public Policy, which previously obtained data for seven years worth of NYPD pension amounts in 2014 — but without the identities of the ex-cops receiving the money. In her ruling Monday, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Melissa Crane wrote, “Public employees do not enjoy the same privacy rights as private-sector employees.” Crane also noted that “[c]oncerned taxpayers have played a crucial role in identifying pension abuse,” citing media reports that revealed former cops scamming disability pensions based “on information the public provided.” The justice’s ruling exempted the Police Pension Fund from releasing the names of former undercover officers but ordered it to turn over the remaining data for fiscal year 2017.
New York Post

If a private citizen sends an email or text message to a city official to lobby or raise concerns on an issue, should those communications be public record? And should anyone be able to obtain copies under the Freedom of Information Act? That’s the question in a legal case pending in Washtenaw County (Michigan) Circuit Court. Ann Arbor residents Pat Lesko and Tom Stulberg, along with local attorney Tom Wieder, are suing the city to stop release of their electronic communications with city officials.


quote_2.jpg“Public employees do not enjoy the same privacy rights as private-sector employees.”