Assemblyman Walczyk: appointment of Shoshanah Belway to the Committee on Open Government

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WATERTOWN, NY WWTI) – “I thought I was reading political satire.  The Governor kept the appointment of Ms. Shoshanah Bewlay as Executive Director of the Committee on Open Government a secret from not just the public, but also the eleven member Committee on Open Government.  I had the opportunity to speak to Committee member Peter Grimm on Wednesday who confirmed that he had no knowledge of the hiring. 

Shoshanah Bewlay, Esq. was the Counsel in charge of rejecting the public’s and the press’ requests for information from the State’s Department of Information Technology Services.  She served as the gatekeeper for information flow to the public for this department and that gate was often locked, with the key never seeming to be found.   

When Ms. Belway was approached for an interview on her new position, she declined comment, and even opted to not answer questions about her past work at the Department of Information Technology Services.  She also did not provide copies of her past legal determinations at the Department regarding FOIL requests.  Her rebuttal was that those specific records could be obtained via a FOIL request.  Ironic, isn’t it?

The problem is when Albany forgets that this is the people’s government, we own it, and we have a right to know what’s going on.  The Freedom of Information Law exists to allow for the flow of information, not to hassle, delay, and deny the public access. In a time where it’s easier than ever to share information, honesty, integrity and openness are absolutely critical if we ever want to restore trust in our government.  There was no openness with this governmental appointment.  New Yorkers deserve better.”  

Assemblyman Walczyk represents the 116th District, which includes parts of St. Lawrence and Jefferson Counties.

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