More importantly, the Town of New Hartford Board of Ethics is actually an inactive board. By town law, it is supposed to be comprised of "three members to be appointed by the Town Board, all of whom shall reside in the Town of New Hartford and who shall serve without compensation and at the pleasure of the Town Board of the Town of New Hartford. A majority of such members shall be persons other than town employees but the members shall include at least one member who is an elected or appointed town employee of the Town of New Hartford."
But a town board resolution unanimously passed at the beginning of each year states that all questions regarding ethics violations of a New Hartford town employee are referred to the Oneida County Board of Ethics. However, when Concerned Citizens made an inquiry to the Oneida County Board of Ethics chairman regarding their role in the Town of New Hartford, we were told they have no knowledge of being named as the Board of Ethics for the Town of New Hartford.
Concerned Citizens recently asked for rulings on the ethics practices of this town board, but Town Attorney Gerald Green instead asked the town's bond counsel to send us a letter denying us a hearing. We are not sure why bond counsel was contacted to compose a denial letter to our request for an ethics hearing, but nothing that this town board does makes a lot of sense. Total disregard for town law seems to be their mantra.
At the April 22, 2009 town board meeting, the Town Board unanimously voted to hire Roger Cleveland as a consultant; that was an ethics violation. According to the Town Code:
J. No town employee, within two years after the termination of his service or employment with the town, shall accept employment which will involve contacts with the town which can work to his special advantage by virtue of his prior contact and relationship with the town.The resolution unanimously approved by the town board and crafted by the Town Attorney, Gerald Green, reads in part:
WHEREAS, to that end, assistance is required from a person or persons familiar with past Town practices with regard to FILM, basic knowledge and understanding of the current GEIS, the updates to existing GEIS, the Town’s Master Plan, the Town’s contemplated Capital Improvements Program and the policies, practices and procedures adopted and exercised in other municipalities in and around the State of New York; andObviously, Roger Cleveland was named as consultant because of his prior employment with the town. No one else was contacted or interviewed for the job. This was a gift to former Highway Superintendent Roger Cleveland.
WHEREAS, Roger Cleveland, former Highway Superintendent, is such a person with the requisite background, knowledge, experience and time to effectively and efficiently assist the Town in this regard; and
Code of Ethics? Seems to be missing in the Town of New Hartford...no wonder all this b/s is going on...