The Town Board Wednesday night went into executive session for 45 minutes to
discuss what its meeting agenda called an “investigation or prosecution of a
potential criminal offense and matters which imperil public safety.”
But town officials later said that public safety was not in jeopardy, and no town employee was suspected of any wrongdoing.
Instead, Town Supervisor Earle Reed said they were discussing security at town buildings.
“We are working with police officers to have some safeguards in Butler Hall,” Reed said.
He said they were considering putting up security cameras and possibly taking other measures.
Asked why the board needed to go into executive session to discuss such matters, Reed said there had been incidents involving employee safety.
Robert Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government, said some discussions relating to security cameras could be cause for an executive session and others could not.
If cameras were to be placed in such a way as to catch people involved in wrongdoing, then the discussions could be conducted behind closed doors.
Conversely, if the cameras would be used to monitor a particular area, and could act as a deterrent, that did not justify closing the meeting, he said. The same is true of discussions about specific employees in the building.
“If it’s a general discussion of safety of the public or employees, that kind of discussion takes place in public all the time,” he said.
Town Council members Christine Krupa, Rich Woodland Jr. and Robert Payne could not be reached after the meeting.
Town Attorney Gerald Green and New Hartford Police Chief Raymond Philo also were present in the executive session and also could not be reached.