April 4, 1994
Ms. Marie Ross
Town of Henderson
Henderson, NY 13650
The staff of the Committee on Open Government is authorized to
issue advisory opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is
based solely upon the facts presented in your correspondence.
Dear Ms. Ross:
As you are aware, I have received your letter of February 24.
Please accept my apologies for the delay in response.
In your capacity as clerk of the Town of Henderson, you wrote
that the Town supervisor demanded that you provide "bound copies"
of minutes and laws, and that he asserted that he has "24 hour
access to these records". You indicated that copies of those
records "are available in printed, disk and in codification form".
Since I advised by phone that records produced in those forms
served as "reasonable alternatives" to the production of "bound
copies", you I that I confirm that opinion here.
In this regard, nothing in the Freedom of Information Law or
any other statute of which I am aware requires that a municipality
or you, as town clerk, prepare bound copies of particular records.
As a general matter, I believe that you are required to make
records available in the formats in which they exist. If the
records in question have not been bound, you are not obliged in my
opinion to prepare them in that format.
It is noted further, that as town clerk, you are the legal
custodian of town records pursuant to §30(1) of the Town Law.
Lastly, while minutes of meetings and local laws are
unquestionably available to the Town supervisor, as well as any
member of the public, I know of no provision of law that guarantees
or requires that the Supervisor must have "24 hour access" to Town
records. This is not suggest that he should not enjoy routine
access to those kinds of records, but rather that a demand for 24
hour access would appear to be unreasonable and excessive.
I hope that I have been of some assistance.
Robert J. Freeman