Featured Letter: The Suffolk Times owes Mattituck an apology

05/23/2013 10:05 PM |

FILE PHOTO | Mattituck school board president Jerry Diffley, left, and superintendent James McKenna.

To the Editor:

I rarely, if ever, weigh in publicly on these debates, but this one deserves a swift reply. The Suffolk Times could not be further from the truth on this. (Read our editorial here.)

First, in response to the request the evening of the election, I, as President of the Board of Education, stated that the list was very long and would not make sense to read aloud. The reason for this was the simple fact that by law you must record every single variation of a write-in vote, so while “John Doe” may have received twenty votes, “J. Doe” may have received six, and “Doe” may have received 10. No assumptions can be made that these are all the same people.

To read the separate entries aloud would have caused great confusion and served little-to-no purpose. Secondly, and more importantly, Tuesday night’s vote was unprecedented for Mattituck-Cutchogue given the high number and variety of write-ins. While Mr. Smith enjoyed a large margin and was by far the winner, we as a district had questions concerning how to release the write-ins. For example: Do you release the actual sheet you recorded them on or are you permitted to type them and release the typed tally? These questions are best answered after consultation with legal counsel so that the public interest is well served and well protected.

That, Suffolk Times, is why a FOIL request is appropriate. Your assertion that FOIL requests are reserved to keep information out of the public domain is nothing short of inflammatory and meant only to sell newspapers.

I think you owe the District an apology.

 Jerry Diffley, President, Mattituck Cutchogue School Board