October 7, 2020 STATEMENT FROM KEVIN HEDLEY, CHAIR, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, SARATOGA COUNTY PROSPERITY PARTNERSHIP
“This comprehensive and thorough Compliance Assessment, conducted by the law firm of Harris Beach at my request, makes it crystal clear: no laws were broken, there was no hacking nor other malicious action taken, and any suggestion that members of the Saratoga Partnership staff did anything illegal or improper is without merit and categorically untrue.”
“The Saratoga Partnership has been, and remains, fully committed to unifying economic development efforts in Saratoga County. It is both disappointing and disheartening that the leadership of the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation has chosen to make baseless, unsubstantiated, and misguided allegations that have no basis in fact. It would be far more productive to put our collective energy and effort into working collaboratively to provide programs and services that create and retain jobs and businesses in Saratoga County. That mission remains our focus, and we intend to pursue it with vigor, transparency, and a continued commitment to ethical behavior.”
“The board of directors of the Saratoga Partnership accepts the facts and findings in this report, which are summarized below, and looks forward to getting back to business on behalf of Saratoga County.”
Key findings in the Compliance Assessment conducted by Harris Beach
- The Saratoga Partnership is the sole owner of the Zoom license, and as such, all video recordings are in its custody and control.
- There is no written agreement between the Saratoga Partnership and Saratoga Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) regarding shared use of the Zoom license.
- As a public entity, the Saratoga Partnership is governed by all applicable New York State laws, including the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), and SEDC was advised and on notice of the public nature of a coexisting relationship.
- SEDC was aware of the deletion feature on Zoom, and had used it prior to the meeting in question.
- SEDC was aware its meetings were being recorded, and at the meeting in question, an SEDC staff member indicated they had no concern about disclosure of the content.
- The inadvertent discovery of the video content occurred as Saratoga Partnership staff sought to delete items to remain below the capacity threshold under terms of the Zoom license. As such, the viewing of the video was not contemporaneous with the meeting, and therefore neither intentional nor malicious.
- The suggestion that SEDC had a “reasonable expectation of privacy” rings hollow.
- Given the apparent subversion of the unity effort by some SEDC staff, the sharing of the video with the Saratoga Partnership chair and an SEDC board member was reasonable and proper.
- As a record held and kept by the Saratoga Partnership within the meaning of FOIL, the video contains no trade secret information, records of private developers, or other information upon which to obstruct the transparency laws of the state and is available to any member of the public that requests it.