In a consequential win for government transparency, the New York State Supreme Court has ordered a Long Island school district to comply with the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), following years of evasion. In addition to providing its teacher and superintendent contracts, Malverne Union Free School District has reimbursed the Empire Center for Public Policy’s legal expenses. The Center was represented by the nonprofit Government Justice Center in the matter.

The Empire Center, mainly through its SeeThroughNY.net database, works to give New Yorkers a clearer view of how their tax dollars are spent, including by providing access to collective bargaining agreements between local governments and their unionized employees.

Over the course of more than four months last year, the Malverne School District ignored requests and appeals for public records, continuing a pattern of failure to comply with FOIL requests since the beginning of 2016 and earlier. Only after the Government Justice Center filed an Article 78 challenge in December 2017 on behalf of the Empire Center did the district supply its teacher and superintendent contracts.

“This type of case is exactly why the Government Justice Center exists,” said executive director and general counsel Cameron Macdonald. “When government at any level refuses to be transparent or oversteps its bounds, it is often easier not to challenge it—but we’re here to hold it accountable.”

In response to the Empire Center’s latest FOIL request, Malverne responded promptly.

“Malverne’s timely response this time around is a welcome change from its years of disregard for FOIL. We’re glad to see this movement in the right direction and hope that other public agencies follow their lead,” said executive director Tim Hoefer. “Though it is unfortunate that it took a lawsuit to convince them to comply, this is exactly why we remain diligent in our work to keep government transparent and accountable to taxpayers every day.”

Click here to view the most recent Malverne School District teachers contract and superintendent contract, and explore all available contracts at SeeThroughNY.net.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit think tank dedicated to promoting policies to make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family.

The Government Justice Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit legal center that provides pro-bono representation and legal services to protect the rights of New Yorkers in the face of improper action by state or local governments.

You may also like

Authorities Payroll Added to SeeThroughNY

The latest payroll data for a total of 13,615 employees at 54 different New York State public authorities was posted today at SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s transparency website. Read More

Empire Center Ranks Local Taxes, Spending and Debt Across NY

The Empire Center today released its annual “Benchmarking New York” report, comparing and ranking government tax, spending and debt levels for hundreds of counties, towns, cities and villages throughout New York. Read More

FDNY Pensions Average More Than $129,000

The 471 Fire Department of New York (FDNY) officers and firefighters who retired in calendar year 2018 are eligible for average pensions of $129,259, according to data posted today at SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s transparency website. Read More

One in four NYSTRS educators earned six figures in 2018-19

More than 25 percent of public school teachers and administrators in school districts outside New York City were paid more than $100,000 as of 2018-19, according to salary data posted today at SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s transparency website. Read More

Corrections Retirees Had Highest Average NYCERS Pensions

Corrections Department employees qualified for average pensions of nearly $70,000, the highest average benefit for any agency grouping among the 7,990 New York City Employee Retirement System (NYCERS) members collecting their first full year’s worth of pension benefits in 2018, according to data posted today at SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s transparency website. Read More

Schenectady County Employee Tops Capital Region Pay List

A Schenectady County employee was the Capital Region’s highest-paid municipal government worker outside New York City during the state’s 2019 fiscal year, according to the latest edition of “What They Make,” the Empire Center’s annual report summarizing total local government pay. Read More

Mid-Hudson Home to NY’s Highest-Paid Local Cop

A police chief in Rockland County was the highest-paid municipal government worker in New York during the state’s 2019 fiscal year, according to the latest edition of “What They Make,” the Empire Center’s annual report summarizing total local government pay. Read More

Lewis County Doctor Tops North Country Pay List

A Lewis County doctor was the highest-paid municipal government worker in the North Country during the state’s 2019 fiscal year, according to the latest edition of “What They Make,” the Empire Center’s annual report summarizing total local government pay. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100
Fax: 518-434-3130
E-Mail: info@empirecenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.