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Town chooses Syracuse-based firm as Gothic Cottage architectural consultant

— The executive session after the Aug. 12 meeting was held for final discussions and to agree on which firm to select, Moran said.

The board ultimately chose HKK because it was a local firm, their expected costs appeared to be less expensive, their experience working on buildings at Syracuse University and the Colgate Inn was impressive and the town board felt there was a good chemistry with the HKK representatives, said Town Supervisor Ralph Monforte.

During her update on the Gothic Cottage project, Moran addressed the issue raised in a previous Cazenovia Republican report that the board’s closed-door interviews with the three final firms in July were properly held in executive session although the session was improperly explained to the public as required under the New York state Open Meetings Law.

According to the state Open Meetings Law, a municipal board may move into executive session to discuss matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation. The board’s stated reason for its executive session, however, was because of possible “financial issues” that may be discussed — a reason that, according to Robert Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government, was insufficient.

“What we’re reviewing is appropriate to be discussed in executive session,” Moran said. She said the board discussed matters private to the companies involved “and that’s not something that should be shared with the press. We have some responsibility here as well to keep these things private.”

Town Attorney John Langey said that before the board moved into executive session on July 29 he informed them that the open meetings law stated an executive session was appropriate in that instance because it was a matter relating to the employment of a particular person or corporation. He said he noticed his statement to the board was not reported in the original Cazenovia Republican story.

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