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Onondaga County, New York

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Onondaga County is one of 62 counties in New York. As of the 2000 census, the population was 458,336. The estimated population for 2004 is 459,805, an increase of 0.3%. The county seat is Syracuse.

Onondaga County is part of the Syracuse, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Onondaga County was governed exclusively by a board of supervisors until 1961, when voters approved the creation of the county executive. In 1968, the board reorganized into a 24-seat county legislature. In 2001, the legislature was reduced to 19 seats.

Website evaluation

Main Article: Evaluation of New York county websites

The good

  • Bids are available, contracts are not.[1]
  • Local tax information provided.[2]
  • Budget is available.[3]
  • Public records can be requested online.[4]
  • Legislature members listed with contact information.[5] Meeting schedule[6], agenda[7], and minutes are available.[8]
  • Audits are available.[9]
  • Administrative officials listed under respective departments.[10]

The bad


Main article: New York government sector lobbying

Onondaga County has a registered lobbyist with the New York Public Integrity Commission for 2010.[11]

The Oncenter

Onondaga County sponsors the Onondaga Convention Center (Oncenter) and retains the Onondaga County Convention Center/War Memorial Complex Management Corp. to oversee the convention site. In November 2008, a local newspaper asked for payroll records, board meeting minutes and some contracts from the management group under FOIL. Eric Schuster, its vice president of operations, denied the request, saying, "It is our position that the Oncenter is not an agency subject to FOIL and therefore your request is denied."[12]

Robert Freeman, who works for the New York government in public information compliance, told the newspaper it is clear that the Oncenter's records and meetings should be open because all of its board members are appointed by government. Freeman commented, "When the government has the authority to designate the entirety of the membership of the board of directors of this entity, how can we say that it's not government?"

Ultimately, the board of directors for Oncenter determined by a unanimous vote that the organization is a part of the government and therefore subject to FOIL. According to board president Stefano Cambareri, the Oncenter board and staff will ask the county attorney's office for training on the law. The county attorney is also be handling all FOIL requests the Oncenter may receive.[13]

External links