Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dumbing Down The Code Of Ethics

Town Of Alexandria Board Meeting June 13 2012.
Agenda Item number 5: Change in Teamsters Negotiation Committee

As you may recall, I posted audio from the May 9th Town Meeting, where Supervisor Hunneyman appoints Council Members Sweet and Durand to negotiate the Local Teamsters contract.  Town Clerk Peck alerted the board of a possible conflict of the code of ethics by appointing Durand because he has a brother and brother in law that belongs to that bargaining unit.  The concern was immediately dismissed by Town Attorney J. Russell by quipping "If you live in this town you've got relatives".

At the June 13th meeting.... the tone changed.  Attorney Russell stated that Durand was conflicted and can not be on the negotiating committee because his brother is a member of the Teamsters.

Let me make this very clear, this has nothing to do with Durand. This is what I find disturbing, how can the town attorney, who drafted the Code Of Ethics, the Supervisor and all the councilmen who all passed the code of ethics on 3.14.12 not know that there was a conflict by appointing Durand to the negotiating committee.  Was it actually written by the attorney or just copied and pasted.  Did anyone on the board read the new code of ethics.  Evidently NOT! 

At the June 13th meeting, I asked for clarification as to which relatives could cause an ethical conflict with a board member being on the negotiation committee.  I was told by the attorney that it was just Durands brother.  I asked about his brother in law and I was told by the attorney that the code of ethics did not cover brother-in-laws.  REALLY?

Code Of Ethics passed by the Town Board on 3.14.12, Section 3, page 2:

RELATIVE means spouse, parent, step-parent, sibling, step-sibling, sibling's spouse, child, step-child,
or household member of a municipal officer of employee, AND individuals having any of these relationships to the spouse of the officer or employee.

Dumbing down the legal advice to "If you live in this town you've got relatives" obviously did not work!

I did not ask for clarification because I did not understand the wording of the code of ethics.  I was curious to see  if anyone read,  understood, and followed this code of ethics.  I can only imagine how the laws and codes would be manipulated if the blogger and others were not at the meetings.  But then again, there is always the executive sessions to fret about. Enjoy the audio!