Does the ‘law of Lefkaditis’ rule in Knox?

To the Editor:

In a recent issue of The Enterprise, H. Rose Schneider’s news article pertaining to the denial an original FOIL [Freedom of Information Law] request and a subsequent appeal by a Knox resident, which was denied by the Republican majority of the Knox Town Board, is definitely food for thought [The Altamont Enterprise, July 25, 2019: “On appeal, name of resident who filed FOIL request released”].

While the original request was denied by Knox’s FOIL officer, town Clerk Traci Schanz, the criteria referred to for issuing the denial, appears to have been cherry-picked from an extensive list of reasons, any of which may serve as the basis for a denial of a FOIL request if applicable.

Reviewing the three specific criteria used for denial of the FOIL request and the subsequent opinion of three members of the Knox Town Board that those criteria were adequate for also denying the appeal, leaves me wondering if they gave any matter of thought to their decision, rather than merely rubber stamping whatever [Supervisor Vasilios] Lefkaditis wanted.

The first criteria, “Unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,” begs the question “whose personal privacy?” I cannot think of any situation that may occur at the transfer station that would result in an invasion of personal privacy if revealed by a surveillance tape or otherwise, unless the town of Knox has a surveillance camera hidden in the port-a-potty. In which case, if you are required to visit it while at the transfer station, remember to smile — you may make the highlight reel of the surveillance tape.

The second criteria, “Compiled for law enforcement purposes,” makes one wonder if the town of Knox transfer station has suddenly evolved into a hotbed of illegal criminal activity, requiring the intervention of law enforcement, such as the Albany County Sheriff’s Department, or the New York State Police.  Since the activity on the day in question, March 28, 2019, did not require the presence of law enforcement, the only law applicable therein is “the law of Lefkaditis.”

The third criteria, “If disclosed could endanger the life or safety of a person,” is just as inappropriate as the first and second criteria mentioned above when applied to the activity of March 28, 2019.  Unless we have a posse of hired goons residing in Knox waiting to attack anyone with the audacity to file a FOIL request to view a surveillance tape taken at the transfer station.

Just as Lefkaditis, [Councilman Ken] Saddlemire and [Councilman Karl] Pritchard showed extremely poor judgment in their decision to illegally fire two transfer-station employees earlier this year, they have equalled that same extremely poor judgment in this situation also.

It seems that, if one has a legal beef against the town of Knox, established law is tossed out the window leaving one no choice other than to deal with “the law of Lefkaditis” which is an obvious attempt to make you go away or to force you into hiring an attorney for purposes of suing the town of Knox.

Ed Nicholson


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