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Cheers and jeers

February 25, 2012
The Leader Herald

JEERS - To few choices. March 20 is Election Day in area villages. Don't expect to hear about many celebrations or surprises. Few contested races are planned. In Montgomery County, for example, every candidate is running unopposed. The news probably doesn't shock local residents, who are accustomed to seeing few contested elections. Perhaps we in the news media should find out what happens if no one runs at all.

CHEERS - To outstanding young citizens. The Soroptimist International Club of Fulton County recently bestowed honors and scholarship funding to remarkable young women. Two received the Young Citizenship Award. The spirit of giving for Courtney Rosser, a senior at Amsterdam High School, began at a very young age as she helped care for her grandmother. More recently, she participated in Operation Smile, raised money for local needy children, organized blood drives and demonstrated leadership in a number of school organizations. Her future plan is to become a biomedical engineer, hoping to be a part of new technologies that will improve the lives of people. Olivia Orth, a Mayfield High School senior, helped rebuild her church, which was devastated by fire. She went to Schoharie to help flood victims, worked at Friday's Table and played an active role in Midnight Runs, a group that travels to New York City bringing goods to the homeless. Olivia wasn't there to accept her award. She is in Guatemala volunteering. Her education goal is to become a teacher. We're sure she not only would teach her students about academics, but also compassion.

JEERS - To violating the spirit of open government. Fulton-Montgomery Community College last week approved a memorandum of agreement with the union representing campus support employees. The union includes about 35 workers such as information technology staff and secretarial employees. FMCC is a public institution, which receives funding from state taxpayers and, through the Fulton and Montgomery county boards of supervisors, local property taxpayers. Yet, the college refused to release the details of the agreement until the boards in Fulton and Montgomery counties approve it. According to an advisory opinion regarding a similar situation in 2008 written by Robert J. Freeman, executive director of the state's Committee on Open Government, terms of the contract generally should be available to the public - even if the contract is not fully ratified - as long as revealing those details would not give one of the parties an unfair advantage. Certainly, no one stands to gain an advantage by telling the public about the agreement, which could include raises for employees. We contend the college should release the information. The public shouldn't have to wait for final ratification by the county boards. The public's right to know always must be a priority.



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