Keeping track of how your money is spent

The wool gets pulled over my eyes every time a Chenango County government body goes into an executive session, and itís happened dozens of times over the past four years Iíve reported for The Evening Sun.

On many other occasions, a committee chairman or department director has asked for my indulgence on matters discussed during the regular meeting, particularly when they involve personnel. I always oblige. An unelected employeeís personal life is really nobodyís business.

Unfortunately, my agreeable nature has not always led officials to, in turn, indulge me with honest reasons for going into executive session. In the case of labor negotiations or lawsuits, they never tell me what the subject matter is or who the complainants are, unless I first ask. Sometimes, especially if the countyís attorney is in the room, they actually refuse to elaborate. Whatís worse, there have been times when the executive session ended, but Iíve not made it back into the room in time to hear the subject of a resulting vote.

Two recent and unsuccessful Freedom of Information requests Iíve made regarding labor negotiations and legal issues discussed in executive session leave me thinking Iím not ever really going to get to tell you where all of your county tax dollars were spent last year. The thing is, I find it alarming that surplus dropped from $16 to $12 million since the beginning of 2007, and I figured you might, too.

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