Trustee refuses to sign audit response

Undated photo of John J. Riordan, candidate for

Undated photo of John J. Riordan, candidate for the Brightwaters Board of Trustees. (Credit: Handout)

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A Brightwaters trustee has refused to sign the village's action plan, which was required in response to a recent state comptroller's audit.

Trustee John J. Riordan said the prepared response relied too heavily on past responses from other villages. He was the sole board member not to sign the document, which was sent to the state comptroller's office on May 22.

"It's kinda like kids cheating from the desk next door," Riordan said after Monday night's board meeting. A spokesman for the state comptroller's office said the absence of his signature will not impact the office's acceptance of the action plan. Riordan said it was merely meant to show there is a difference of opinion on the five-member board.

Trustee Denise Gibson, who authored the response, would not immediately provide a copy of the village's action plan at Monday's meeting. She said the document would be posted to the village website; but it was not as of Tuesday evening. She declined to respond to Riordan's comments.

The comptroller's office required the village to submit an action plan after its February audit found the village operated with a budget deficit for each of the past three fiscal years by underestimating spending and overestimating revenue.

The board also proposed a resolution to amend the village's code of ethics -- a change the comptroller's office suggested in its audit. The resolution requires all village employees and elected officials to file receipt of the ethics code with the village clerk. It also adds language prohibiting the "personal use" of village "services, property or personnel."

Additionally, it adds a section to the code on media reading, "No individual may speak on behalf of the village of Brightwaters. All officials and employees must make it clear to the press, that he/she is not purporting to talk on behalf of the board itself or the village itself as a legal entity."

A public hearing on the proposed changes to the ethics code is scheduled for July.

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