Tag: Transparency

Aug 17


Police union pressing to suppress records

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Buffalo’s police union is making headway in its efforts to put a lid on the release of officers’ disciplinary records. Last Friday, lawyers for the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association filed a lawsuit against the City of Buffalo, asking a judge to order the city to honor an arbitrator’s decision curtailing the public’s right to learn about allegations of police misconduct. If successful, the lawsuit would require the city to destroy all records of a misconduct complaint against an officer unless the department’s Internal Affairs Division finds the officer guilty.  That would eliminate records of almost all complaints and the investigations[...]

Posted 4 months ago

Aug 2


Ruling in iPost stadium lawsuit

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More details of an engineering study assessing the condition of Highmark Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills, have been made public following a ruling in a lawsuit brought by Investigative Post. The judge, however, ruled in favor of Erie County’s insistence that portions of the study  remain confidential because of security concerns. Investigative Post filed a lawsuit against Erie County in state Supreme Court on Feb. 28 seeking the study after the county provided only a heavily redacted copy of the study in which 170 of its 182 pages were blacked out. The county essentially argued that it was withholding[...]

Posted 4 months ago

Jun 15


Hochul’s lack of due diligence on expressway

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Gov. Kathy Hochul has committed $1 billion to cover a portion of the Kensington Expressway without benefit of any studies to assess the project’s updated cost or impact on the environment and health of East Side residents. Meanwhile, the state governor’s office and Department of Transportation are slow-walking Freedom of Information requests from Investigative Post seeking documents related to the project.  The state FOI law generally requires agencies to provide records within 20 business days of receiving a request. Twenty-six business days have passed since Investigative Post filed its requests. The DOT has said it intends to take up to[...]

Posted 6 months ago

Jan 14


Board of Elections fail transparency test

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When a good government group decided to test whether county election boards comply with the state’s open government laws, the first hurdle was getting someone – anyone – at those boards to answer an email or a phone call. It wasn’t easy. Last summer the New York Coalition for Open Government — a group that tracks government agencies’ compliance with freedom of information and open meetings laws — emailed 17 county election boards across the state to ask how often commissioners held meetings, whether those meetings were publicized, and whether meeting agendas and meetings were posted online. In many cases[...]

Posted 11 months ago

Jul 12


Transparency, City Hall style

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Editor’s note: Phil Gambini is working on a story about sewage and stormwater runoff that flows into local creeks and rivers. Municipalities are required under state law to track the volume of these pollutants, but data reported by the Buffalo Sewer Authority does not identify discharge points or, in many cases, the amount of wastewater that flows into individual waterways. Gambini has been attempting to reach the Sewer Authority since the middle of May to make sense of the incomplete data. He documents his efforts below.  There’s many ways to reach Oluwole “O.J.” McFoy, general manager at the Buffalo Sewer[...]

Posted 1 year ago

Mar 30


UB students rally to demand divestment

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Dozens of University at Buffalo students rallied Thursday, calling for the university’s foundation to divest from fossil fuels. UB has positioned itself as a leader on green initiatives, even as the private and technically separate UB foundation has invested in funds that back fracking companies, according to documents leaked as part of the Paradise Papers, Investigative Post reported last year.  The Fossil Free UB campaign, which organized the protest, has earned support from the representative bodies for both both the faculty and professional staff, as well as student government. In response to the divestment campaign, the foundation has said it is “actively looking”[...]

Posted 5 years ago

Jun 22


More stonewalling, then vote for transparency

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Fort Schuyler Management Corp., the state-controlled development agency that is overseeing a number of major state-funded construction projects, including SolarCity, barred reporters from covering its board meeting Tuesday. Jim Heaney of Investigative Post tells Scott Levin about his experiences trying to obtain public records from Fort Schuyler. The nonprofit development corporation subsequently voted to adhere to the state Open Meetings Law and its board chairman suggested it will adhere to the Freedom of Information Laws, as well, although no vote was apparently taken. The New York Committee on Open Government had previously said it was obliged to honor the FOI[...]

Posted 6 years ago

Oct 1


Cuomo stonewalling goes from bad to worse

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I’ve documented – more than once – efforts by the Cuomo administration to obstruct our reporting of the Buffalo Billion. But the tactics employed by the Cuomo crowd during the course of Charlotte Keith’s reporting of her story on the lack of diversity at the SolarCity construction site represent a new low. Once again, state officials refused to grant interviews, but this time they came up with a novel reason. Peter Cutler, the temperamental spokesman for the Buffalo office of the Empire State Development Corp., objected to who Charlotte was interviewing for her story. She had the audacity to talk[...]

Posted 7 years ago