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Open Government Head: Rye Board "Disrespectful"

RYE, N.Y. -- Robert Freeman, New York State's Executive Director of the Committee on Open Government, called the Rye Board of Ethics' conduct at Thursday morning's Board of Ethics meeting "disrespectful" and "discourteous" to the public. 

The board, which entered into executive session at 10:30 a.m., did not notify half a dozen members of the media and public that the meeting had been reopened. The board then refused to comment on whether a decision had been reached as they exited City Hall. 

"I think that there should be a degree of respect for the public, and the public should have been informed," Freeman said.

Freeman, who has been executive director of the committee for 36 years, also took exception with the board's reasoning for entering into executive session. The board, led by chair Elizabeth Griffin Matthews, entered into executive session for over an hour "to discuss matters of personnel." 

"Describing the issue as a personnel matter isn't a sufficient enough reason to enter into executive session," Freeman said.

Freeman did say that the board was allowed to enter into executive session since the matter does fall under article 5 section F of the open meetings law. Both City Manager Scott Pickup and City Corporate Counsel Kristen Wilson, who recused themselves from last week's Board of Ethics meeting, did not to recuse themselves from Thursday's meeting. 

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