Record Keeping
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Course Overview

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, "History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon." The same is true of minutes, findings, and the decisions that are issued by planning boards and zoning boards of appeals. Department of State presenters will discuss why board members and support staff should strive to make records that are of value to enforcement personnel, applicants, municipal attorneys, and current and future boards. The course then turns its focus to the components of the record: minutes, findings, and the decision document.

This course is 1 hour in length.

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Text Version of the Course (pdf)

NOTE: Online courses are not available for in-service credit for code enforcement officers, continuing legal education credit for attorneys, or certification maintenance credit for members of the American Institute of Certified Planners. Some courses will produce a certificate at the end, and others will only produce your quiz results. The quiz results page should be used as proof of your training.

 

Online Training Help

What should I expect?
At the beginning of each course there is a short pre-test.  Some courses may also include some knowledge checks in the body of the course as well.  At the end of the course the student is given the option to take a final quiz and  print out a personalized “certificate of completion.” The student may opt to skip the final quiz and advance to the end of the course, but in that scenario a certificate of completion will not be available.

How much time will it take to complete each course?
The courses range from between one and two hours long.  Links to reference materials, such as New York State statutes, and Department of State land use publications and legal memoranda are offered throughout each of the courses.  The linked materials supplement what is discussed in the course.

To access these links, you will need to turn off your browser’s pop-up blocker. You may also access these links or download documents from the webpage for each course. Students are encouraged to view these materials to get a better understanding of the subject matter.  In depth review and study of the materials may add additional time for course completion.

Will I receive a certificate of completion for each course I take?
For each course you have the option of completing a final quiz.  At the end of the quiz, you may enter your name as directed and print off a certificate of completion. The certificate will indicate the percentage of the questions you answered correctly.  Each municipality may determine what percentage would constitute a passing score, and whether a certificate of completion is even necessary. A certificate of completion is not available if you do not take the final quiz.

What types of “training credit” do these courses offer?
The courses may satisfy a portion of a planning board or zoning board of appeals member’s annual training requirement as set forth by the municipality.  If deemed locally as an acceptable form of training, we suggest that students present to their municipalities a printed copy of their test results upon completion of each course.

How do I register for the courses?
We do not require that you register for our online courses.  You may simply go to the course homepage and open up the course. They are available 24 hours a day, unless the website is down for maintenance. If you need to exit a course without completing it, you should be able to resume the course where you left off when using the same computer. 

How may I contact the Training Unit?
Email us at [email protected] or call (518) 473-3355 and ask to speak to a member of the staff of the Local Government Training Unit. 

Resources Provides by DOS

Legal Memorandum:

Role of Findings in Local Government Decisions
 

Committee on Open Government:

Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) Advisory Opinion Index
Search this database for advisory opinions regarding access to government records. For example, choose “M” for “Minutes, Contents of” to learn more about the required elements for minutes of all public bodies; choose “I” to learn more about access to “Inter-Agency and Intra-Agency” communications, or parts thereof.

Open Meetings Law (OML) Advisory Opinion Index
Search this database for advisory opinions regarding public meetings. For example, choose “P” to learn more about “Public Participation” at a meeting; choose “E” to learn more about conducting “Executive Sessions.”

 

Other New York State Resources