Scammed on Ethics – Yet Again?
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public was informed by Chairperson Jack Conway that the 2010 resolution and the financial disclosure provision had been repealed.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 The public in attendance were incredulous and asked when and how the 2010 resolution was repealed.
We were told that the following language of resolution 117-2012 repealed the 2010 resolution: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The public was told that the town attorney and the majority had advised the Ethics Board that this language repealed the 2010 resolution.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I e-mailed Supervisor Langley and asked him if he knew and agreed that the above language of 117-2012 repealed the 2010 resolution.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?