By Matthew Saari

 

During a moment of “happenstance,” a former Whitehall mayor accused the current administration of holding an illegal meeting.

Former Whitehall Mayor Ken Bartholomew

Former mayor Ken Bartholomew wrote a letter to the village board detailing the experience, which Mayor Phil Smith read – and responded to – during last week’s board meeting.

“While at the Whitehall municipal building on May 31…I observed three village of Whitehall board members in violation of the New York state Public Officers Law Article Seven Open Meeting Law,” Bartholomew wrote. “They were sitting together, appearing to be discussing village business.”

Although it may seem negligible, three coworkers meeting and talking in their workplace, three of five board members constitute a quorum and thus, had they wanted to, the three board members could have passed resolutions on the sly without the public or media knowing.

Having spotted the violation, Bartholomew then took on the role of government watchdog.

“I pointed out the violation of the law,” he wrote. “My next statement was ‘one of you needs to get the hell out of this office now and if you don’t I will take a photo and report the violation to the proper authorities.”

Acknowledging Bartholomew’s stance as correct, the board members dispersed as requested.

“But not without one making the comment that I was a ‘pain in the ass,’” wrote Bartholomew. “Not the first time I have heard that and I’m sure not the last.”

 

This is only a preview of the story published in the Whitehall Times. To read the full story, pick up a print copy of this week’s paper at the newsstand or read it online here.

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