Comedy or Tragedy? - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2243954

Comedy or Tragedy?

Let’s embark on the thrilling odyssey of filing a Freedom of Information Law request in Southampton Village.

It begins with hope and the naivete of believing in the straightforwardness of assessing public information. You draft your request, hit send — and what you receive in return is a masterclass in automated responses. This computer-generated acknowledgment might as well be framed and hung in Village Hall as the sole adherence to transparency law in our dysfunctional village.

As the days turn to weeks, the hopeful citizen might fantasize that somewhere, in the labyrinthine corridors of the village building, a dedicated public servant is diligently gathering the requested information. Alas, such fantasies are dashed, as the maximum legal time frame is exploited with the finesse of a seasoned procrastinator, only to culminate in the anticlimactic revelation that, perhaps, your request has vanished into the ether.

One could argue there’s a certain charm in being strung along with the promise of eventual compliance. It’s a bit like waiting for Godot, if Godot had promised to bring you public documents and then got lost on the way to the village. This laissez-faire approach to FOIL requests could almost be endearing if it weren’t for the pesky desire to, you know, actually receive the information.

The situation begs the question: Is Southampton Village pioneering a new form of bureaucratic performance art? Or is this simply a case of administrative incompetence?

Either way, the residents of this village deserve better. We’re not asking for the moon, just that our requests for information be treated with a modicum of respect and urgency.

In the spirit of constructive criticism, let us rally together to remind our Southampton Village officials of their duties. Perhaps, with a little nudge, we can return to the mundane reality where public information is, indeed, public and accessible to all who seek it.

Is the present Southampton Village administration a comedy or a tragedy?

David Rung

Southampton Village