County Responds To Freedom of Information Law Request RE Mental Health

Saratoga County finally responded to my FOIL.  While it was late, it was only marginally late.  I am attaching my original FOIL (Here) and the county’s documents (Here).

This is a summary of what the documents show:

  1. For my request for any documents that describe the procedures mandated for hiring the Mental Health Director: The County could locate no documents “responsive” to this request.
  2. The name of the body/committee that determined who to hire for the position: The County gave me the members of the Community Services Board.
  3. The names of the persons who served on the board/committee that made the decision: The county gave me the names of the Community Services Board
  4. Any documents that were sent from the Community Services Board to the county regarding the candidates: They gave me a long legal statement about privileged information and two emails in which all the text of the email was redacted.
  5. The bylaws of the Community Services Board: The County had none.
  6. Any documents that define the responsibilities of the Community Services Board: The County had none.
  7. Any document that lists the members of the Community Services Board: See item #2 and #3
  8. Minutes from all the Community Services Board meetings from January 1, 2015 to present: The County has none.
  9. Procedure used to hire Dale Angstrum (One of the earlier mental health directors who served for many years and was actually hired by the Community Services Board): The County had none.

Analysis

We continue with the fiction that the Community Services Board hired Dr. Prezioso and the county was not involved.  The county says they were unable to locate any document that explains how the hiring should be done.  Conspicuously absent from the documents are the minutes of the County Personnel meeting at which they selected Prezioso and the minutes of the Board of Supervisors meeting when they actually made the appointment.  I am following up with an “appeal of denial” asking why these documents were not included.   Also missing from the documents is the letter from Dr. Frank Archangelo, the chairman of the Community Services Board, stating that they did not hire Prezioso but merely reviewed a list given them by the County and sent a ranked list of candidates back to the Personnel Committee of the Board of Supervisors to determine who to hire.

Of particular interest here is that the Community Services Board is not a true functioning body.  According to the FOIL the county believes there are no documents laying out what the Community Services Board is suppose to do (In fact, the New York State Hygiene Law includes a section laying this out).  The CSB has no bylaws.  It has taken no minutes of its meetings at least since January of this year.

The record is made all the more appalling for the citizens of Saratoga Springs because our supervisors Matt Veitch and Peter Martin, who refuse to discuss any of this.  The arrogance of this is quite stunning.  One would think that the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene, which funds the Department, would provide some oversight and require adherence to the law.  So far, not so.

2 thoughts on “County Responds To Freedom of Information Law Request RE Mental Health”

  1. It is like who is minding the store? I’ve seen it before when minutes are taken and there is an agenda. Normally there are things that need to be followed up on, yet somehow they get lost when the next meeting and following meetings are held. It gets frustrating. I imagine this is a problem when you have different people elected and they are not privy to how things are done or supposed to be done. Somethings have to be done a certain way by protocol, but then again you get people in who think they can do things their own way. Who watches over it? This is my first comment, so be kind.

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