Bills stadium sessions could be subject to open meetings law

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As the powers-that-be in Western New York begin the process of potentially identifying a solution to the Buffalo Bills’ stadium needs, one politician insists that the public deserves a seat at the table.  Or at least a spot in the room.

Per the Buffalo News, New York Assemblyman Michael P. Kearns believes the state’s Open Meetings Law applies to the sessions.

Those opposed to open meetings cite the importance of discretion and strategy.

“We’ll be dealing with potential sites for a stadium, and don’t want to forecast that because it could lead to land speculation and possibly hike prices,” Deputy County Executive Richard M. Tobe told the Buffalo News.

Kearns nevertheless plans to introduce legislation aimed at ensuring the meetings are open.  If he’s right that the law already contemplates that the meetings will be open, he wouldn’t need new legislation; he’d merely need a lawyer.

Regardless, it’s another twist for a process that could go a long way toward determining whether the Bills wind up in a new city.  The local urgency could be enough to ensure that, one way or another, the meetings will proceed in secrecy so that a plan can be formed and executed in the most efficient and effective way possible.

3 responses to “Bills stadium sessions could be subject to open meetings law

  1. Seems pretty simple.
    If no public money is involved, then the public doesn’t have a compelling interest in being a party to the process. If, on the other hand, City/County/State taxpayers are going to be contributing to the stadium (whether through direct investment, “infrastructure,” or tax incentives), then the process should be transparent.

  2. The point about land speculation is valid. Then you would have the public tweeting the minutes of the meetings across the universe. While the public may have a right to be at the table, it most likely will work to the detriment of any progress.
    It may end up with them paying more money just for the right to be at the table. This is why things don’t get done in Buffalo.

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