Our View: GRAMA does not restrict speech

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 4:19 PM

Editorial Board

While Syracuse engages in its latest squabble — this time, it’s over the city’s future police chief — we note something of interest in the dispute. Syracuse’s mayor, Jamie Nagle, citing GRAMA, said that she couldn’t release to council members the resumes of the police chief position applicants. That’s not correct. There is nothing in GRAMA, a law dealing with the management of public records, that restricts this type of information from being released.

The mayor’s opponents in this tiff are not asking for anything unreasonable. As Syracuse City Councilman Brian Duncan states, the council has the right to have as much information as possible so it can utilize its advise and consent process responsibly. The council next meets on Tuesday, and that information should be available to members.

Disputes between Mayor Nagle and some Syracuse council members have not been uncommon. To be fair to the mayor, some of her opponents relish the opportunity of making her job more difficult than it needs to be. However, in this case, she invoked GRAMA incorrectly. In these pages, we defend GRAMA with passion, and we need to note when its intent is misinterpreted.

Syracuse’s city council has an important role in determining its new police chief. Its members have the right to see the resumes. GRAMA enhances the right to review pertinent information. It certainly doesn’t restrict it.

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