Back in 2008, both Evans and West Seneca voted to downsize their boards to three members. Fast forward to 2019 when a West Seneca candidate for supervisor promised change while Evans offered two candidates for supervisor that would protect the status quo. Unfortunately for Evans residents, they will have to wait another four years to vote for change made possible by term limits.

Open government requires 100% transparency which is lacking in Evans.  Here are a few Evans town policies and practices that could changed to benefit residents.

  • An open government would allow residents to ask questions at town board meetings at any point during the meeting. In Evans, privileged of the floor precedes the rare discussion of resolutions before the board. Too often, the board votes on resolutions not on the agenda and added after privileged of the floor denying residents an opportunity to ask questions. The three minute speaking rule is only enforced on speakers critical of board actions while those praising the board are often not subject to any time constraint.
  • Dickson’s proposal to combine worksessions and regular meetings into one meeting has been been suggested for Evans for many years. True open government requires residents be involved in the process.
  • When Keith Dash was supervisor, you could request a document and receive it in a day or two. The current policy is that all documents must be requested via a freedom of information letter.
    • It takes about 30 days to get the requested document(s).
    • Documents are denied with no written explanation.
    • Appeals to the supervisor as allowed for by state law go unanswered.
    • If you want to spend thousands of dollars to get the requested document(s), you can hire a lawyer to file an Article 78.
  • Imaging giving a teenager a credit card and just paying the statement without reviewing the charges. That is how taxpayers pay the bills in Evans! The board votes to pay the bills from their respective funds without disclosing payee, the amount to be paid and the total amount being authorized for payment.
    • Yearly totals paid to legal and engineering firms has never been disclosed publicly.
      • Freedom of Information requests for this information are denied without explanation.

Many want to blame board members for these types of problems in Evans. Until Evans votes for change, expect the status quo.

Dickson West Seneca Change

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