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Friday, June 5, 2009

Who you gonna call?

Each town is required by law to have a Code of Ethics and also a Board of Ethics to review and resolve any alleged violations. New Hartford has such a Town Law, Chapter 10 - Section 10-4 through Section 10-8 addresses the Code of Ethics for the Town of New Hartford; however, the Code hasn't been updated since June 17, 1970.

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; and

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
Obviously, 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.

Code of Ethics? Seems to be missing in the Town of New wonder all this b/s is going on...


BigMac said...

O'BOY O'[Boy Good old Girl! good old Boy! when will it be for the good of the people of New Hartford?No more back door deals!where did the MONEY GO????

Anonymous said...

The adjective "ethical" never applied to Roger Cleveland, period.

Roger watched out for Roger while he was the Highway Super.

He should be called "The Highwayman" not because he was good for New Hartford, but because he is a good robber.

Anonymous said...

Didn't roger resign as highway superintendent because he falsified a state report regarding stormwater management? Also, wasn't his dealings with the new business park another reason he resigned?

BigMac said...

Do you remember that older woman that shouted WHERE IS THE BEEF!for that Burger place? The Call For New Hartford IS WHERE IS THE MONEY!!!( where is the money Earl?}