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Letter: Yorktown Supervisor Grace Stalls Ethics Reform

Councilwoman Susan Siegel
Councilwoman Susan Siegel Photo Credit: File Photo

YORKTOWN, N.Y. — The Yorktown Daily Voice accepts signed and original letters to the editor up to 350 words. To submit your letter, email yorktown@dailyvoice.com

To the editor:

It’s time to talk about ethics reform and how Supervisor Michael Grace is stonewalling efforts to strengthen the town’s existing Ethics Law.

Let’s look at the record:

  • May 5, 2015 — In a closed executive session with the Town Board, a member of the Ethics Board stated the group’s primary concern: If the Ethics Board was to have any meaning, it had to be independent of the Town Board. Under the existing law, the Ethics Board can only make recommendations to the Town Board and the Town Board can choose to ignore the recommendations and/or not even make them public. The Ethics Board wants an outside attorney who specializes in ethics legislation to review the current law.
  • May 26, 2015 — After meeting with two members of the Ethics Board, the Town Board agreed to vote at its next meeting on a resolution to spend $5,000 to hire an outside attorney to review the current Ethics Law.
  • September 11, 2015 — After months of delay, the Town Board finally voted to hire the attorney.
  • November 24, 2015 — The Town Board and the attorney discussed several possible amendments, including one giving the Ethics Board more power. The attorney said he would provide the Town Board with a copy of another ethics code. No one from the Ethics Board attended the meeting because no one in town hall notified the Ethics Board that the attorney was going to be present.
  • December, 2015 — The attorney submitted a voucher to the town for $900 for what was recorded as Town Ethics Prelim Dra. The voucher was paid on January 25, 2016. Supervisor Grace never shared the document with members of the Town Board.
  • March 29, 2016 — I submitted a FOIL request for a copy of the December Town Ethics Prelim Dra. On Monday, April 25 my request was denied.
Questions: Has Supervisor Grace shared the December document with either the current Town Board or the Ethics Board? If not, why not? And if not, what does that say about Supervisor Grace’s interest in having a meaningful ethics law in Yorktown?

Councilwoman Susan Siegel

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