USA Today reporters Jon Campbell and Meaghan McDermott discuss the firing of Bob Freeman, a senior state employee and advocate for FOI requests and open meeting laws.


ALBANY – Robert Freeman, former director of the state Committee on Open Government, will pay a $15,000 fine to settle claims he broke state law by systematically sexually harassed women while on the job, including several reporters who sought his advice on public transparency disputes.

The state Joint Commission on Public Ethics finalized a settlement agreement Wednesday with Freeman, a nationally renowned public-records expert who was abruptly fired from his state job in June 2019 after holding his post for more than 40 years.

Freeman, 73, admitted his conduct toward women — as well as using his state-issued computer to view sexual images — violated state Public Officers Law, according to the settlement.

“(Freeman) admits that … by his conduct towards