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Jun 17, 2015 10:27 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Trustees Split Over Whether To Abbreviate Meeting Minutes

Jun 23, 2015 11:10 AM

Some Southampton Town Trustees hope to change the way the board publishes minutes of meetings, to become compliant with municipal law, although others prefer to keep the minutes as detailed as possible.

At a meeting on Monday, the Trustees discussed the possibility of switching from a detailed, word-by-word account of every meeting to a new format with less detail, with the understanding that interested parties could refer to meeting videos and digital recordings if they needed to.

The proposal is designed to shorten the time it takes to transcribe meetings, which can run several hours, so the minutes can be approved more quickly. Municipal law says minutes of meetings must be approved within two weeks after the meeting was held.

However, on Monday, Trustees Eric Shultz and Bill Pell said they were against a bullet point version of the minutes, noting that the current method, with more detail, offers historical context for the Trustees’ decisions that is readily available for the public in the town’s libraries. By switching the process, residents would have to file Freedom Of Information Law requests for the context they need, or find a specific meeting video and time references to get the information, they said.

Other Trustees complained that Mr. Shultz and Mr. Pell were inhibiting the board from moving forward with new technologies.

“We need to find a way to preserve the integrity and authority of this board in the most efficient matter, and … although I highly respect and don’t want to weaken this board in any way, failing to adapt to a changing world is becoming extinct like the dinosaurs,” Trustee Scott Horowitz said. “We need to advance forward as our situation has advanced forward, and I think we owe it to the public to have that conversation about what makes the most sense in getting our minutes out in a timely fashion.”

Mr. Shultz took exception to the statement, saying that just because he disagreed did not mean he wants to hold back the Trustees. “I was the one pushing for this to be on TV, and I created the Facebook page,” he said. “So as far as embracing new technology, I have been on the forefront, too. But this is a continuation of the tradition of putting into the printed word and into the libraries so everyone can see what the procedure is and why we followed a certain thought process.”

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Is Scott Horowitz the president of the trustees? Sounds like it. Minutes from the meetings should remain as is.
By Resident tax (186), Hampton bays ny on Jun 17, 15 4:40 PM
When those that serve the public are unsure of what to do, they should err on the side of more disclosure...not less.
Jul 1, 15 4:46 PM appended by KevinLuss
Upon seeking more in-depth information on this issue, I still stand by the statement, but it is imperative that the Trustees remain in compliance with all public meeting laws....this, so that they are not exposed to losing lawsuits on technical issues unrelated to the critical matters at hand.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Jun 17, 15 4:46 PM
maybe if Hug Me Horowitz didn't love to hear himself talk so much they wouldn't have to abbreviate the minutes Never heard someone talk so much without actually saying anything. Typical POLITICIAN
By PoliticallyIncorrect (45), earth on Jun 20, 15 7:17 PM
He's practicing for running for higher office. Maybe town council or for the county but before that, watch out Mr. Warner.
By Resident tax (186), Hampton bays ny on Jun 21, 15 7:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'm with the 4 posters above. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Scott Horowitz is the fox in the hen house. He's a Trustee for now, but he doesn't care about the Trustees staying in business. All he cares about is currying favor with the Supervisor, who wants to absorb the Trustees into the Town Board's authority. Bye-bye Trustees, hello Scotty, movin' on up.

Please note, it's Eric Shultz and Bill Pell who are for full disclosure and against diluting the Trustees' authority ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 23, 15 9:58 AM