Buffalo, NY- A new report claims that many local governments are blatantly and repeatedly violating state law when it comes to open meetings that the public should have access to view.
For six months, the Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government studied how sixteen local governments in Erie and Niagara Counties conducted executive sessions.
The group says it found 76 out of 78 (97%) executive sessions were done improperly, because state law has specific instances in which meetings can be private.
"We all knew from our own individual experiences that there were problems. But quite honestly never expected to find 97 percent done incorrectly," said Paul Wolf, a member of the Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government.
Some local governments, like North Tonawanda, the Buffalo Common Council, the Niagara Falls City Council and the Erie County Legislature, didn't hold any executive sessions.
Others had significantly more sessions than average.
Lewiston and Cheektowaga both had more than ten.
The study also looked at time spent. The town of West Seneca spent far more time than others, coming in at 12 hours.