Lawsuit over extreme secrecy in Niagara County government being considered

New York State’s government is in bad shape, but there is so much secrecy it is hard to tell how bad. That was the message Wednesday night, as two public interest groups were honored for trying to open government and uncover what is there.

It was the Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government’s chance to give awards to local people and groups trying to improve government transparency. It also brought in two statewide voices, Common Cause Executive Director Susan Lerner and Reinvent Albany Senior Policy Advisor Alex Camarda.

Both told the meeting at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site of the problems in a state government where so much occurs out of sight.

“If we’re looking at our elections laws, if we’re looking at our transparency, we’re looking at sunshine in government and accountability and the grade is somewhere between F+ and a D-,” said Lerner.

Coalition President Paul Wolf told the group in attendance the organization is considering filing a lawsuit against Niagara County for its extreme secrecy in keeping closed financial disclosure forms filed by officials in county government. He said court decisions and legal opinions require the disclosure forms should be public. (Read more…)