When Lackawanna, New York resident Faith Gordon requested that the Lackawanna City Council post full agendas of Council meetings on-line the response she received from Councilman Francis J. Kulczyk, as reported in the Buffalo News was:
“Why do we have to put it on the website? I don’t understand,” said 3rd Ward Councilman Francis J. Kulczyk. “Do we have to do it? Who else does it?”
To their credit several area municipalities (Buffalo, Hamburg) post full agendas of meetings, including memos and other supporting documents for resolutions, ordinances or other matters up for consideration on the Internet. Most communities like Lackawanna post a summarized agenda on line before the meeting, which provides a bare minimum of information to the public.
The public should have access to the complete packet of information that is being presented to their elected representatives for approval. As Ms. Gordon states “Is it so much work for one person in City Hall to post this information on our website?” With technology today all one has to do when copying the complete Council agenda is scan the documents and post them on-line. It really is not a difficult task, yet not one of the five Council members spoke up in favor of providing the public full access to the Council’s proceedings.
Lackawanna resident John Ingram summed the issue up well by stating “This has to change. It doesn’t matter if you have to do it, it’s the right thing to do. “We need information on the website so we can look it up and come to these meetings and ask you questions. It’s not wrong to want that information.”
I give Faith Gordon credit for raising this issue in her community but it is amazing to me that citizens still need to push for basic information from their local governments.