Frustrated by a state agency’s failure to answer questions about the placement of convicted sexual offenders in a West Seneca neighborhood, a Buffalo lawmaker has filed a formal request for a myriad of records.
“I think we’ve been patient long enough; I think we’ve been fair,” said Assemblyman Michael P. Kearns, D-Buffalo, who filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request Wednesday with the state Office for People With Developmental Disabilities [OPWDD].
Late last December, under the cover of darkness, seven men were moved from the state’s Monroe Developmental Center near Rochester, which was closing, to group homes at 510 and 526 Leydecker Road that originally were established to encourage independence for the developmentally disabled. Classified as moderate- or high-risk offenders, four of the men were convicted of sexual crimes involving young children.
Town police were notified in early January to register the new addresses of the sex offenders, as required by law.
Kearns’s FOIL request seeks records to answer questions he’s already asked a representative of OPWDD and in an April letter to Laurie Kelley, who was the acting commissioner at the time. Kelley resigned June 1.
“We could not get anything in writing – any formal answers to our questions,” Kearns said.
Records sought by the assemblyman relate to policies and procedures, among other things.
“We need to understand who is making these decisions, what the process is,” Kearns said. “The stonewalling has to stop.”