New York State Open Government Executive Director Addresses FOIL During SUNY Canton Presentation

Robert FreemanRobert J. Freeman, executive director of the New York State Committee on Open Government will be presenting about the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) and Open Meetings at 3 p.m., April 5, in SUNY Canton’s Kingston Theater.

Students from SUNY Canton’s Legal Studies program will have a close connection with the topical subject matter, according to Assistant Professor Alexander Lesyk.

“Awareness of the Freedom of Information Law, the Open Meetings Law and the Personal Privacy Protection Law is fundamental to navigating the complex relationship between citizens and their government,” he said. “This lecture is designed to help our students and community learn to be meaningful participants and stewards alongside our elected officials.”

Shortly after FOIL was created in 1974, Freeman quickly became a known authority on the law. His office is now a definitive source for what is and isn’t public information. Members of the media, lawyers and insurance companies frequently file FOIL requests to state and local governments. However, anyone can invoke the law to request the information behind governmental decisions. In some cases, individuals have issued FOIL requests for environmental data, or resumes of elected officials and appointed administrators.

Freeman has addressed numerous government related organizations, bar associations, and media groups in addition to lecturing at colleges and universities. He has addressed open government laws and concepts throughout the United States, as well as Canada, East Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. He also taught the only course in an American law school on public access to government information.

Stephen D. Button, St. Lawrence County Attorney said, “In addition to being one of the foremost authorities on public information and the public’s right to knowledge in the State, Mr. Freeman is one of the very best presenters I’ve ever seen.”

Freeman is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York State Associated Press Association.

The lecture is free and open to the public, but preregistration is requested. Contact the St. Lawrence County Attorney’s Office by phone (315) 379-2269 or email mzera@stlawco.org to make reservations

SUNY Canton’s Legal Studies program and St. Lawrence County are cosponsoring Freeman’s lecture and are continuing a partnership to provide quality legal-based education in the North Country.

 

About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management and public service and recently received number one rankings in library resources, library services and tutoring services in the SUNY Student Opinion Survey. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as ten exclusively online bachelor’s degrees. The college’s 14 athletic teams compete as members of the NCAA Division III.

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