Thursday, July 26, 2012

Scammed on Ethics – Yet Again?
You Decide
By Ray Mooney

At the October 2010 Town Board meeting Rick McCabe, Ginny O’Brien and Rick Matters voted unanimously to form an Ethics Board.

That is Resolution 161- 2010.

Part of the resolution mandated amendments to the 1975 ethics code “including, but not limited to, financial-disclosure provisions.”

The Ethics Board met on Monday, July 23, 2012 in what amounts to a now almost two year effort to amend the 1974 ethics code.

At the July 23 meeting the public was informed by Chairperson Jack Conway that the 2010 resolution and the financial disclosure provision had been repealed.

Keep in mind that Ethics Board meetings are wonderfully open and fully participatory. The public in attendance were incredulous and asked when and how the 2010 resolution was repealed.

We were told that the following language of resolution 117-2012 repealed the 2010 resolution:
“notwithstanding any previous directive from the Town Board to the Ethics Board.”

The public was told that the town attorney and the majority had advised the Ethics Board that this language repealed the 2010 resolution.

We were further told that the town attorney had informed the Ethics Board to the effect that since the 2010 resolution was based by a three member Town Board the current full Town Board could change the meaning and interpretation of the 2010 resolution to anything the majority now wanted.

Ginny O’Brien voted in favor of financial disclosure in 2010 and against financial disclosure in 2012.
I e-mailed Supervisor Langley and asked him if he knew and agreed that the above language of 117-2012 repealed the 2010 resolution. I have not received a response.

I asked Board Member Matters the same question. Rick’s response was that the language of 117-2012 is open to interpretation but he was not aware of the majority’s intent to have that language repeal the 2010 resolution.

One person close to all the discussion between the town attorney and the majority has told me that the only problem is that the town attorney was incompetent when he wrote the language of resolution 117-2012.

Other people have told me that they feel that the majority is trying to scam the public and avoid the responsibility to openly and publically state that they are repealing the 2010 resolution and its financial disclosure requirement.

What do you think?

Friday, July 20, 2012

                                    Mugged on Ethics

 Here we have history being re-written by the Oligarchy which is the 3-member majority of the Town Board led by Majority leader O’Brien.  The interests of the people of East Greenbush are being sacrificed to the interests of three people who want to avoid financial disclosure and preserve the practices of nepotism and patronage.  The Town Board’s “Ethics Code” has so many “exceptions” that citizens would be better off with the 1974 Code.  It’s business and usual in East Greenbush.  Those of you old enough will be reminded of governments in Eastern Europe in the ‘50’s.  As you read the commentary below, please remember Mr. Malone’s pontification at the June Board meeting referring to the three member majority– “what we pass, passes.”  We’ve been mugged by the three driven by self-interest, relieving themselves of the “inconvenient” responsibilities they have to all the citizens of East Greenbush.

117-2012                      A Resolution Referring the Proposed Code of Ethics for the Town of East Greenbush to the Ethics Board for Review and Comment
Please notice that the Title makes no reference to the Code developed by the duly appointed Board of Ethics in 2010.  The Code considered is the Code from the Board (read Liccardi). 

WHEREAS, a proposed Ethics Code was brought forward for a public hearing held on June 20th 2012, and

Here again, no mention of the work done pursuant to Resolution 161-2010 dated October 13, 2010.

WHEREAS, the public hearing was held open and remains so as of this date, and

Public comment is allegedly still possible

WHEREAS, the Town Board desires receipt of comment from the Ethics Board upon the proposed Ethics Code, now

Comment on what we give you, not on the work you did.

BE IT RESOLVED, that the proposed  Code of Ethics for the Town of East Greenbush brought forward at a public hearing on June 20th 2012 is hereby referred to the Board of Ethics for review and comment, and

Read it….

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the review and comment shall be limited in scope to remain within the parameters of the proposed Code, notwithstanding any previous directive from the Town Board to the Ethics Board, and

Don’t say anything about anything that we don’t tell you that you can talk about…..  Absolutely forget about that we originally told you that you must at least include provisions related to financial disclosure.  (Talk about “double-think” and cognitive dissonance.)  Papers please….. 

Here we have the Town board stating that it will not be responsible for anything previously stated or assigned or mandated.  Wouldn’t it be ducky if any citizen could absolve him/her self of previous commitments and responsibilities with such ease to meet the personal needs present at any point in time?  Ms. Mangold need to be absolved of financial entanglements, and Malone and O’Brien don’t want to be accountable for nepotism and patronage. 

You can’t talk about those matters in anything you submit to the Town board. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Ethics Board review and comment shall be transmitted to the Town Board by way of a non-final inter-agency memorandum and,

What you say to us is to be said in secret so that the public will never know if you say anything which disagrees with what we sent you to “comment” on.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the public hearing shall remain open and adjourned without date.

The Town Board will decide what happens next, and it could quite possibly be a Resolution at an undetermined date which closes the public hearing and advances for passage the Board’s Code with no disclosure of anything offered by the Ethics Board. 

The foregoing Resolution was duly moved by Councilperson O’Brien and seconded by Councilperson Mangold and brought to a vote resulting as follows:
Councilperson O’Brien                       VOTED  _Yes__
Councilperson Mangold                     VOTED  _Yes__
Supervisor Langley                             VOTED  _Yes__
Councilperson Matters                       VOTED  _Yes__
Councilperson Malone                       VOTED  _Yes__

So what the Town Board three person majority wanted in the first place – a Code, rubber stamped by an obedient Ethics Board so it would look like the absence of financial disclosure, no sanctions against patronage and nepotism and business as usual in East Greenbush – could be enacted with the appearance of public vetting will actually happen.

The Ethics Board has been had, rolled, thrown under the bus, played, folded like a $2 suitcase.

Where is the consciousness of the Public Interest and Welfare on the part of both Boards? 

Everybody knew that the Board majority (oligarchy) would get what it wanted.  My question is why didn’t the Ethics Board make them publically pay for this assault on the public interest?  There were ample opportunities.  Is there some secret plan (like Nixon’s to end the Viet Nam war) that will make this colossal “cave” to the oligarchy understandable?  Yuri Andropov and Walter Ulbricht wrote that Resolution.  The people of EG are getting mugged.  Mr. Conway said at the June Ethics Board meeting that if Mr. Liccardi’s draft was adopted, it would be business as usual in EG.  He said he was going to say that at the Public Hearing.  He didn’t.  Seems to me that the people in a position to advocate in the interest of the people have caved to the oligarchy.  Really a sad day for East Greenbush.  The Machine rules once again.  “What we pass, passes.”

Right now, the Ethics Board is in no position to produce anything which will be known to the public as different from that finally promulgated by the Town Board.

This page is open to Mr. Conway, or any member of the Ethics Board to make any case they want to.