Introduction

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As a resident of the Town of Evans,  County of Erie, State of New York, I will speak to compliance with the Freedom Of Information Law (FOIL).

 

When Keith Dash was supervisor of the Town of Evans, obtaining documents was an easy process. All you had to do was ask for a document and you'd receive that document within a few days. The Evans Police Department also provides documents within a few days of a FOIL request.

 

When Mary Hosler was elected supervisor, the process changed. The Town Clerk, the designated FOIL Officer by town board resolution, would send out an Acknowledgement Letter stating it would take approximately 30 days to receive documents. Hosler's policy seems to be to find reasons to deny documents as opposed to complying with the law.

 

Via Zoom town board meeting on 4-21-2021, during Privilege of the Floor, I asked if the only way to obtain documents was via Article 78. I questioned why residents have to ask a judge to require Evans officials to follow the law. Hosler deflected by stating that the Town Clerk is the FOIL officer. The Town Clerk receives a FOIL request then forwards the request to the appropriate departments. Documents or reasons for denial are returned to the clerk who then sends provided documents to the person making the FOIL request. Implying that if documents are denied is the determination of the Town Clerk is simply inaccurate. It is my understanding that all FOIL requests are reviewed by Supervisor Hosler and the Town Attorney. Even when the New York State Committee On Open Government ( NYS COOG ) gives an opinion that documents should be made available via FOIL, Hosler still refuses to provide documents.

 

Below, is a list of changes I'd make to the FOIL and my FOILs to the Town of Evans and the resulting paper trail.