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Yorktown's Town Board has recently voted to spend taxpayer money to hire an outside attorney to defend Supervisor Michael Grace on a personal ethics complaint lodged against him with the New York Bar Association. The complaint alleges Supervisor Grace acting in the capacity of a private attorney violated well established ethical rules of professional conduct. Supervisor Grace has the presumption of innocence but has faced multiple allegations of conflict of interest in the past. Mr. Grace was publicly accused in a local newspaper this week of asking "for a $30,000 retainer (his charge for acting as an attorney) so he could make a problem go all away" after being initially approached by a taxpayer for help in his role as Supervisor. The merits of this allegations have yet to be heard but taxpayers should ask themselves if there's one common thread that runs through all these accusations?
Have politicians skipped along the ethical tightrope between public good vs. personal agenda for such a long time that these lines have become indistinguishable from one another? The New York Bar Association's impartial investigation will determine whether a breach of the public trust have occurred but more importantly it will shine a spotlight on the underlying questions of integrity, judgment and character. What will pulling on enough of these ethical threads ultimately unravel and expose concerning how business is really conduct at Town Hall?
As a big fish in a small pond (swamp) Supervisor Grace had no problems staying above the political fray, The New York Bar Association is an impartial forum where a politician loses his home field advantage and respondents get judged strictly on the merits of this case without political influence. Is that's worrisome to Yorktown's Town Board and the reason why they felt the need to hire a private attorney to represent Supervisor Grace? It remains to be seen if Mr. Grace will feel the need to resign as Supervisor if the New York Bar Association sanctions him?
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