The City of Troy, New York, "Where Henry Hudson Turned Around."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


We wish City Hall would talk to us before they speak to the press. Especially when they're on unfamiliar terrain such as ethics.

From a great Talespin:

Getting information from City Hall is like pulling teeth. We requested, through the state Freedom of Information Act, the disclosure statements of all elected officials and department heads for last year and this year. They are supposed to be filed on an annual basis, and the Ethics Commission is supposed to review them to make sure the statements are actually filed. So, we requested a list of the members of the Ethics Committee as well as the minutes of their last three meetings. In response, 10 days later, we get a letter asking if we wanted copies of the statements or just wanted to review them.

Odd thing is, when we requested Councilman Bill Dunne's disclosure statement a few months back, we got a copy of his statement within days. The statements don't really say too much. They basically list other sources of income to make sure there are no conflicts of interest.

Ohh ... and they indicate where a person lives, and since the administration made such a stink over the residency of police officers, we thought it would be interesting to see where the people working in City Hall are living. As far as the Ethics Committee goes, it is not clear if there is one or whether it has held a meeting this calendar year. It isn't really a big deal,* but the mayor is still required to appoint an Ethics Committee and it is supposed to meet and weigh in on anything that may raise an ethical flag. We have to wonder how the committee feels about timeliness in responding to FOIL requests.

Franco is correct. The Charter mandates an Ethics Board (if you care about that kind of thing):

§ 43-16. Appointment of Ethics Board members; term of office.

A. Within 60 days after the effective date of this chapter, and no earlier than January 1 of each year thereafter, the Mayor shall appoint the members of the Ethics Board with the advise and consent of the City Council.

B. The term of office of Ethics Board members shall be three years and shall run from January 1 through December 31, except that of the members first appointed: one member shall serve until December 31 of the year in which the Ethics Board is established, two shall serve until the second December 31, and two shall serve until the third December 31.

C. An Ethics Board member shall serve until his or her successor has been appointed. Consecutive service on an Ethics Board shall not exceed two full terms.

Uhmm...'Shall appoint.' Not 'may appoint' but 'shall appoint.' Shall, as you all know, is a modal verb that represents simple futurity or necessity. But we're not telling the Mayor anything he doesn't already know. In fact, the Mayor did appoint an Ethics Board.

Surprise! You're on the Ethics Board! In case you didn't know.

And still on it since there's been no successors appointed. Of course, Tom Casey cannot really be on the Ethics Board as he is a political party officer but that's probably an issue for the Ethics Board. Perhaps they can discuss it at the next Ethics Board meeting...if there is a board....and if they meet....

*We believe it's a big deal, especially when one party controls the Executive and Legislative branches of government.

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