The New York Daily News is reporting that a judge has ruled the time sheets and other payroll records of state Senate employees are public record.
Senators, including Byron Brown, when he served in Albany, used what the courts have determined is an incorrect interpretation of Senate rules to, among other things, thwart scrutiny of the common practice of staffers banking overtime -- supposedly -- and later drawing on the resulting comp time to campaign for their boss.
Writes Daily News political reporter Elizabeth Benjamin:
The decision by the five-judge panel was based on the Senate's own rules, NOT the Freedom of Information Law, which applies only narrowly to the Legislature. Thus, it doesn't appear that this ruling would apply to the Assembly, which has different rules than the Senate.
However, the decision is "significant," according to (the plaintiff's attorney) ... because it "opens up a broad range of records on all Senate employees that previously were secret."
Say, for example, that a reporter spotted a staffer doing work on a campaign during a particular time period and then FOILed for that staffer's records -- just to see whether said staffer had indeed taken time off from his taxpayer-funded job to do political work.
Wouldn't THAT be interesting?
I am so there.