Public hearing on code changes to take place May 5
Come May 5, the Huntington Town Board will hear from the public on proposed revisions to its own ethics code.
The changes to the code expand who must file a disclosure statement and what must be disclosed. The revisions also include a comprehensive code of conduct for town employees, according to a town statement. The proposal also calls for a plain-language booklet explaining the ethics code, and for the booklet to be prominently displayed on the town’s website.
Tweaks to the code are the product of work between the town’s ethics board and Councilwoman Tracey Edwards (D).
“These changes have been in the works for many months, clarifying portions of the previous code and adding new features to further reassure our residents that Huntington conducts its government according to the highest ethical standards,” Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) said in a statement.
Edwards said the revisions take into consideration comments made by residents at a recent ethics board public hearing.
“This new code incorporates recent ethics changes enacted by the state, state court decisions, language from the New York State Comptroller’s model code of ethics, suggestions from ethics experts and, most importantly, public input at the recent hearing the Ethics Board conducted,” she said in the statement. “The new code also enhances the education requirements, so town officials and employees clearly know what conduct is allowed and what is not. This is a code we can be proud of, and I hope it will be well-received.”
The new version divides the code into three sections: a code of conduct; expanded disclosure requirements; and powers and duties of the Board of Ethics and Financial Disclosure. It expands the universe of people required to file financial disclosures to include policy makers and requires all public officials to disclose specific client information.
Those interested can view the proposed code at the Huntington Town Clerk’s office, and on the town’s website at huntingtonny.gov. Also, Edwards will be meeting with some who made specific recommendations for code tweaks at the ethics board hearing.
The board is expected to vote on the changes at its June 9 meeting, according to the statement.
Also at the April 21 meeting, the board appointed Edward William Billia of Huntington Station and reappointed Ralph Crafa of Northport to the ethics board. One vacancy still remains on the five-member board.
The May 5 meeting starts at 2:30 p.m.