Crotonblog has achieved a breakthrough of sorts. Thanks to a friend of one of the Republican trustees, we have learned the text of the special conditions attached by Maria Cudequest to her confidential memorandum to the Mayor and the Village Board and limiting its distribution. The restrictive admonition reads as follows:
This email is for the intended recipients only. It is not to find it [sic] way into the aforementioned chat-room, blog, list-serve [sic], i.e. not to be re-printed or re-distributed without the express permission of the author.
According to an attorney friend, the above admonitory restriction on distribution of her communication is meaningless. It cannot be enforced and need not be observed. Any e-mail communication addressed to a public official at an official e-mail address automatically becomes a part of the public record and available to anyone under the provisions of New York State’s Freedom of Information Law.
So the whole brouhaha over Ms. Cudequest’s creation of a “secret” document that was not to be made available to any member of the public was actually only a storm in a teacup created by her. Although the incident now seems to have laughable overtones, Crotonblog is more concerned about the implications of Ms. Cudequest’s single-minded behavior in attempting to control public discourse and public affairs.
“Is she a control freak?” we asked a psychologist friend of Crotonblog and showed him film clips of her appearances at public meetings.
“If by ‘control freak,’ an expression in popular psychological jargon,” he said, “you mean someone who has an obsessive need to exert control over people and situations, from what I can see the answer is definitely yes. She seems consumed by a need to control legislation affecting waste disposal and other matters in Croton and does not hesitate to play every card in the deck. But then waste disposal is an industry in which the players play hardball, not Tiddlywinks.
“Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, the psychologists’ term for this condition, is quite common in our society. Whether the behavior in question rises to the clinical level of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder would require closer study of the subject.”
Our psychologist friend added: “Of course, from what I have seen you should not overlook the somewhat remote possibility that you are seeing a person merely working super-diligently in the service of others who remain behind the scenes, with or without remuneration.
“This is pure speculation on my part. If her labors are unremunerated, they represent an unusual, nay extraordinary, expenditure of time and money without pecuniary reward in the service of a cause. But I suspect that Mother Theresa she ain’t.
“Karl Rove gave every impression of being single mindedly obsessive-compulsive, but we must not forget he did not give advice to George W. Bush out of the goodness of his heart. He was also on the White House payroll and well-remunerated as senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to the President.”
Crotonblog will be watching tonight’s Village Board meeting for any official pronouncements on the subject of Freedom of Information, particularly whether certain communications can be given confidential status and withheld from public view by order of the letter writer.