The HHA Is In Violation Of FOIL, Open Meetings Law, and Town Code

Filed under: Around Town,Code Enforcement,Investigations,News |

The Huntingtonian has been and will continue to discuss the Freedom Of Information (FOIL) and Open Meetings Law. We believe that it is every citizens obligation to observe and determine if our government is operating justly.  This is the only way to preserve democracy and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom.

We are concerned about the disregard for both the FOIL and Open Meetings Law throughout our Town.  We see violations of these laws by both the current Town Board and the appointed agencies.  In previous articles we discussed how the Town Board is not providing access to information as requested and required by law.  Another area that we believe is in violation is how our current Town Board and the Huntington Housing Authority (HHA) board have closed door executive meetings.  The law provides very specific details about when this is permissible.

An example of how the HHA is in violation of the law is the section of the Open meetings Law identified as Notice Of Meetings. The law requires that  notice of the time and place of all meetings be given prior to every meeting.  If a meeting is scheduled at least a week in advance, notice must be given to the public and the news media not less than 72 hours prior to the meeting.  Notice to the public must be accomplished by posting in one or more designated public locations.  We see no evidence that this is happening.  We visited the Huntington Housing Authority building on 11/13/11, and saw no posting of any meeting times.

When a meeting is scheduled less than a week in advance, notice must be given to the public and the news media “to the extent practicable” at a reasonable time prior to the meeting.  Again, notice to the public must be given by means of posting.

According to the Huntington Housing Authority website, Public Board Meetings are held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7:00am in the HHA Administration office Building.  We attempted to attend several meetings during this posted time, and there was never any meeting in progress with no notice of change posted.

We FOIL’ed for the meeting minutes and agenda for a period of one year.  We requested all HHA agendas and meeting minutes from October 2010 – October 2011.  This is what we received:



Discrepancy Between Agenda and Minutes

10/12/2010 7:00 pm

10/12/2010 7:00pm (regular meeting)

11/8/2010 7:00 pm

11/9/2010 7:00pm (regular meeting)

Dates do not match

12/7/2010 7:00 pm

12/7/2010 7:00pm (special meeting)

12/21/2010 7:00 pm

12/21/2010 6:20pm (special meeting)

Meeting began 40 minutes early

1/19/2011 6:00 pm

1/19/2010 6:15pm (regular meeting)

2/8/2011 7: 00 pm

2/8/2011 7:45pm (regular meeting)

Meeting began 45 minutes late

3/8/2011 7:00 pm

3/8/2011 9:15pm (regular meeting)

Meeting began 2 1/4 hours late

4/13/2011 7:00 pm

4/13/2011 8:20pm (regular meeting)

Meeting began 1 hr and 20 min late

5/9/2011 7:00 pm

(no minutes received)

No minutes, no explanation

6/14/2011 7:00 pm

6/14/2011 7:00pm (regular meeting)

No agenda

6/28/2011 6:00pm (special meeting)

7/18/ 2011 6:00 pm

7/18/2011 6:30pm (regular scheduled)

Meeting began 30 minutes late

8/9/2011 6:00 pm

(no minutes received)

No minutes, no explanation


Discrepancies and possible violations to FOIL, Open Meeting Law and Town Code include:

1. Violation Open meetings Law: The HHA lists the regularly scheduled meeting time as the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 7:00 am.  According to the information the HHA provided, there was only one meeting held at that specified time (10/12/2010).

2.  Violation to Town Code 40-2(A) The HHA is required to provide certified copies of the minutes of all its meetings, including a Treasurers Report to the Town Clerk.  The most recent HHA meeting miutes provided to the Town Clerk was December 4, 2001 and the last Agenda provided to the Town Clerk was November 12, 2002.  After we requested the information, the HHA only partially filled our request.  The documents were received by the Town Clerks office on October 17, 2011.  It seems no records were provided to the Town Clerks office from November 12, 2002 – October 16, 2011.

3. Violation to Town Code 40-2(D). The HHA is required to file meeting agendas with the Town Clerks office at least 1 week prior to any meeting of the Authority.  The last meeting agenda that was provided to the Town Clerks office was November 12, 2002.  After the Huntingtonian requested the information, some of the agendas were provided, but they were for meetings that had already happened.  It seems no meeting agendas were provided to the Town Clerks office from November 12, 2002 – October 16, 2011.

4. Violation of Open Meetings Law, closed or Executive Sessions.  There are violations of this law found on the meeting minutes of 7/18/2010, 7/28/2010, 6/14/2010, 4/13/2010, 3/8/2010, 2/8/2011, 1/19/2011.  In order to go into executive session several steps need to be followed.  A motion must be made and it must identify the general area or areas of the subjects to be considered.”  In reviewing the meeting minutes of the dates listed above, it appears the HHA Board goes in and out of Executive Session at will without bothering to provide the specific need.  This is a violation of the Law.  We have FOIL’ed the Executive Meeting Minutes for these sessions.

5. Violation of Town Code 40-2 (B).  The HHA failed to provide quarterly financial reports to the Town Clerks office.  These reports are to include itemization of all disbursements and receipts.

6.  We did not receive any information for September and October even though we requested it.

If you feel your rights have been violated under either the Freedom Of Information laws or the Open meetings Law, or you have specific examples of how these laws have been violated, send the information to

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One Response to The HHA Is In Violation Of FOIL, Open Meetings Law, and Town Code

  1. Does the Town Clerk attend the Executive Session to take notes for minutes? Is she required to be there or just not allowed by the board? This was an issue for the school district awhile back – the district clerk is not in attendance at Exec Session so minutes aren’t taken. Any notes taken by board members could be demanded by lawyers if necessary and it would technically be information not for the public, as Exec session has limited agenda items that can be discussed (personnel etc.)

    My Town Too
    November 14, 2011 9:12 am at 9:12 am

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