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Legal Advice

This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.

Municipal Update: Virtual Meeting Provisions Extended

ExecutiveOrder_EO_generic_heroEarly on in this public health emergency, the Governor suspended and modified certain provisions of the Open Meetings Law to permit meetings to be conducted remotely.  The provisions of the Executive Order making those suspensions and modifications was later extended through May 7, 2020.

The Governor was expected to further extend these provisions, but as of the close of business on May 7, 2020, they were not extended.  But, late last night–on May 7, 2020–the Governor issued Executive Order 202.28.  The order provides among other things that the “suspensions and modifications of law, and any directives, not superseded by a subsequent directive, made by Executive Order 202 and each successor Executive Order up to and including Executive Order 202.14,” are continued for thirty days until June 6, 2020.

The Open Meetings Law provisions were initially suspended and modified by Executive Order 202.1, and initially extended by Executive Order 202.14.

There were numerous other provisions of law that were suspended and modified by Executive Order, and some of those provisions have also been extended by Executive Order 202.28.  I should also note that Executive Order 202.28 includes some exceptions and further suspensions and modifications, and one should not assume that it applies without reviewing the language for your particular concern.

If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss the Open Meetings Law or other municipal legal matters, please contact Peter J. Weishaar, Esq.  at pweishaar@mccmlaw.com or 585.512.3542.  Peter’s municipal practice includes the ongoing representation of planning and zoning boards, as well as the representation of fire districts and other municipalities on an ongoing basis and as special counsel in litigation matters.

This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.

 

 

 

Municipal Update: Public Hearings Postponed by Executive Order 202.15

ExecutiveOrder_EO_generic_hero By now most local governments should be conducting their meetings remotely.  The Governor suspended certain provisions of the Open Meetings Law in Executive Order 202.1, permitting public bodies to meet and take action without permitting in public in-person access, and also permitting such meetings to be held remotely by conference call or similar service, provided that the public has the ability to view or listen to such proceeding, and that such meetings are recorded and later transcribed.  These modifications were originally set to expire on April 11, 2020, but were subsequently further extended by Executive Order 202.14 through May 7, 2020.

On April 9, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order 202.15, which postponed certain public hearings without prejudice. With respect to public hearings, the Order provides as follows:

Any local official, state official or local government or school, which, by virtue of any law has a public hearing scheduled or otherwise required to take place in April or May of 2020 shall be postponed, until June 1, 2020, without prejudice, however such hearing may continue if the convening public body or official is able to hold the public hearing remotely, through use of telephone conference, video conference, and/or other similar service.

Information about this and other COVID-19 Executive Orders may be found here.

If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss the the impact of this Executive Order or other municipal legal matters, please contact Peter J. Weishaar, Esq.  at pweishaar@mccmlaw.com or 585.512.3542.  Peter’s municipal practice includes the ongoing representation of planning and zoning boards, as well as the representation of fire districts and other municipalities on an ongoing basis and as special counsel in litigation matters.

This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.

Municipal Update: Non-Public Bid Opening Permitted During COVID-19 Emergency

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On March 7, the Governor issued Executive Order 202, declaring a State disaster emergency for the entire State of New York.  Over the course of the next several weeks, the Governor has issued updates to the original Executive Order.

On Friday, March 27, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order 202.11.  Fire districts and other municipalities should be aware of one change with respect to public bidding that was included in that order:

Section 103(2) of the General Municipal Law, Section 144(1) of the State Finance law, Section 376(8)(a) of the Education Law, and Section 359(1) of the Public Authorities Law to the extent necessary to allow the non-public opening of bids; provided, however, that where practical, public entities shall record or live stream id openings so that the public has the opportunity to view such bid openings….

The statutory provisions referenced in the Executive Order are temporarily suspended or modified through April 26, 2020.   Information about this and other COVID-19 Executive Orders may be found here.

If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss the the impact of this Executive Order or other municipal legal matters, please contact Peter J. Weishaar, Esq.  at pweishaar@mccmlaw.com or 585.512.3542.  Peter’s municipal practice includes the ongoing representation of planning and zoning boards, as well as the representation of fire districts and other municipalities on an ongoing basis and as special counsel in litigation matters.

This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.

COVID-19 and Business Interruption Insurance

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Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

Business interruption insurance can provide coverage for losses of income due to physical loss or damage to property.  Questions have arisen as to whether this type of policy covers business interruption due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), recently added a FAQ page related to these questions.  You can find the page here.  If you have questions about coverage, the first thing you should do is review the terms of your own policy.  If you still have questions, this FAQ page is a good place to look next.  We are also available to assist you.

Following recent changes to our office in response to COVID-19, all of our attorneys are now working remotely to serve your legal needs.  If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss legal issues that have arisen as a result of COVID-19 or any other legal matter, please contact Peter J. Weishaar, Esq.  at pweishaar@mccmlaw.com or 585.512.3542.

This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.

 

 

Open Meetings Law: Telephonic Participation Permitted During COVID-19 Emergency

 

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Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

On March 12, 2020,  Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.1, suspending and modifying laws relating to the COVID-19 disaster emergency.  One of the laws this Executive Order modified was the Open Meetings Law.  In an effort to reduce public gatherings and foster social distancing, the Open Meetings Law has been modified to permit attendance by telephone conference or by other similar service:

Article 7 of the Public Officers Law, to the extent necessary to permit any public body to meet and take such actions authorized by the law without permitting in public in-person access to meetings and authorizing such meetings to be held remotely by conference call or similar service, provided that the public has the ability to view or listen to such proceeding and that such meetings are recorded and later transcribed….

While the Open Meetings Law always permitted videoconferencing, the law also required the public body to “provide an opportunity for the public to attend, listen and observe at any site at which a member participates.”  Executive Order 202.1 changes that provision and expands it to include participation by telephone conference.

Members of the public need to be provided access to the telephone conference or video conference information, so they can listen and observe the meeting, and the meeting needs to be recorded and later transcribed.   But, members of the general public have no right to participate in the meeting beyond listening or watching.

Executive Order 202.1 indicates that it will remain in effect for thirty days until April 11, 2020.  However, it is possible that it may be further extended.  Information about the Governor’s Executive Orders may be found here.

If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss the Open Meetings Law or other municipal legal matters, please contact Peter J. Weishaar, Esq.  at pweishaar@mccmlaw.com or 585.512.3542.  Peter’s municipal practice includes the ongoing representation of planning and zoning boards, as well as the representation of fire districts and other municipalities on an ongoing basis and as special counsel in litigation matters.

This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.

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