Democratic Caucus of the Monroe County Legislature

County Administration Rejects Requests for Information about Vacco Contract

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Rochester, New York — December 9, 2013.  In response to several requests for information about the contract with Dennis Vacco, the County Attorney, on behalf of County Executive Maggie Brooks, has written to legislators saying that records related to the contract will not be shared and a FOIL request must be filed for any information.

“We’ve been asking for this information for five months,” Democratic Leader Carrie Andrews (D-Rochester) said. “Now, on the eve of their asking us to approve hundreds of thousands of dollars in new spending on the contract with Mr. Vacco in the 2014 budget, they tell us that we’re not going to be informed of any details related to this spending. These actions by the administration are another significant step away from transparency in this government and are exactly what we should not be doing to reassure taxpayers at this time. We need to do everything in our power to ensure that every dollar being spent is subject to public review.”

Democrats sent the administration four requests for information on or about August 2, October 29, November 15 and November 19 of this year. Immediately before 5:00pm on Friday, December 6, the administration delivered their six sentence reply, which directed legislators to file a FOIL request if information is sought.

“Unfortunately, this is another effort on the part of this administration to misrepresent and, we believe, violate the law,” Democratic Legislator Justin Wilcox (D-Brighton) said. “There is absolutely no reason that these records cannot be provided to the elected officials responsible for this government. If they feel a FOIL request is necessary for us to gain access to information, that’s absurd. Our four prior letters requesting the information should have been sufficient. We are elected officials with a legal duty to make sure public dollars are spent appropriately. Therefore, in addition to having a legal right to the information, we have a fundamental obligation to understand basic facts about this contract and it’s inexcusable for this administration to deny our legitimate requests for records and information.”

“Simply put, this administration is playing games to avoid disclosing information to legislators about the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars on an investigation being overseen by the same people being investigated. That’s unacceptable,” Wilcox added.