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Pacts ‘Hidden’ Until Filing In Fredonia

When Fredonia’s Board of Trustees passed water and sewer services contracts with the State University of New York at Fredonia Monday, Trustee Scott Johnston pushed back against allegations of secrecy in the process.

“These contracts are available in the clerk’s office. Anybody who’s interested can come by and read them,” he said.

“It’s not like they’re being hidden or sequestered from the public view,” he added, laughing.

But it was not that easy, after all.

When the OBSERVER called Village Clerk Annemarie Johnston Wednesday morning to tell her it wanted to come to Village Hall and look over the approved contracts, she wanted to seek permission from village attorney Melanie Beardsley first.

About an hour later, the clerk called back to state that Beardsley told her the OBSERVER would have to fill out a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request. Clerk Johnston provided a form for the request, via email.

She said she would email copies of the contracts after she received the form. The newspaper filled out the form and emailed it back to the clerk.

Around two hours after the completed FOIL request was sent, Clerk Johnston emailed the contracts. She apologized for the delay.

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