Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 22, 2013

CITY SPENDING: Taxpayer-funded city council sessions at local restaurants draw mixed reviews


Niagara Gazette —

The paragraph reads: “If indeed the sole purpose of a gathering is social in nature, the open meetings law, in my view, would not apply. However, if during the social gatherings, a majority of the members of a public body begin to discuss the business of that body, collectively as a group, I believe that they should recognize that they are conducting public business without notice to the public and immediately cease their discussion of public business. Moreover, in that situation, I would conjecture that a court would determine that the public body would have acted in a manner inconsistent with law.” 

In addition to Fruscione and Johnson, the dinner sessions have been attended on a regular basis since April by Council Chairman Glenn Choolokian and council members Charles Walker and Robert Anderson Jr. as well as Assistant Corporation Counsel Tom O’Donnell. Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti stopped attending the dinners after the discretionary freeze was imposed in April. 

The city council has been meeting for meals between sessions for decades, according to Fruscione.

“I think that the public knows,” he said. “It’s been going on for at least 50 years in city hall.”

Fruscione agreed with Johnson’s position that city attorneys are invited to the meetings to ensure that the council is acting appropriately.

Anderson, who has been on the city council for almost a decade, said he has always gone to the meals and has always thought them to be within the limits of open meetings laws, being that city attorneys attend as well.

“The bottom line is I’ve just been following suit,” Anderson said. “It’s been going on forever.”

The open meetings law has not been discussed in regard to the council’s dinners during the four years that Johnson has been the city attorney and he has not been made aware of any problems with prior councils meeting for meals between sessions, he said.

“As far as I know, it has never been an issue,” Johnson said. 



Spending series This is the final story in the Gazette's four-part look at the spending habits of top city officials. View the entire series on our website,


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results