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Ogdensburg's kangaroo court of FOIL appeals

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Check this out: Armed with the Freedom of Information Law, the Ogdensburg Journal requested a bunch of records from the city about The Rent Is Too Damn Low-gate, the budding controversy in the Maple City over the dunder-headed decision (or oversight) to let a family live in a city-owned home for three years, even as taxpayer dollars were going to fix up the joint.

First, we're being charged a $358 "photocopying fee" for the records. But hey, perhaps they're being etched into bronze plaques, or they've hired James Earl Jones to recite the documents with his rich baritone.

Some of the records will be kept secret owing to an exemption that allows the city to withhold documents that "are inter-agency or intra-agency materials" — so basically, if city manager Art Sciorra asked planner Justin Woods in an email what was going on with that house at 819 Knox St., that can be kept secret, as long as it's not a final determination of policy, a statistical tabulation, or an instruction to staff that affects the public. That third one there would seem to cover much of what was discussed, but we'd have to sue to figure that out.

Or we could appeal the decision! And to whom do we do that?

Arthur J. Sciorra, city manager, the guy who (ostensibly) authored many of the documents that we're looking for.

Meanwhile, Mr. Woods has landed on his feet, according to a report in the Times of TI. He's already working part-time in that job, even though he's still officially on the payroll in Ogdensburg until Oct. 16, according to the terms of his departure.

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