Some members of the Glen Cove City Council Tuesday night expressed concern about proposed new ethics guidelines.
“It’s a little overreaching in some respects,” Councilman Timothy Tenke said at a City Council work session at City Hall.
Tenke said he was concerned about provisions asking for financial information of spouses and children of elected officials and others. Tenke said elected officials such as himself choose to be in the public eye but spouses and children do not. Among the information that must be disclosed are stocks, real estate holdings and employment income of more than $1,000.
Councilwoman Pamela Panzenbeck said she doesn’t oppose disclosing financial interests to the city but worries that people with grudges against those covered by the guidelines would obtain the information through the state Freedom of Information Law and then publicize it.
“I don’t want to see it all on Facebook,” she said. “We need some protection from that.”
Councilman Nick DiLeo said the guidelines could discourage some people from running for office.
But ethics board chairwoman Cindy Rogers told council members that the provision about spouses and children has been in city law for years but has not been enforced. The board is proposing to add “domestic partner” to that list.
“If you’re changing it and making it more lax, just make sure you know how to answer that during this political environment,” Rogers said, an allusion to public outrage at alleged corruption on Long Island.
Mayor Reginald Spinello said he backs keeping the requirements.
“I think more is better,” he said.
The key proposed change in financial disclosure is increasing the number of city officials covered by the law.
Currently, only the mayor, City Council members and candidates for those offices are covered, Rogers said. The proposed change would add people such as zoning board and planning board members, department heads, city officials authorized to approve contracts, and people with professional-service contracts worth more than $100,000.
Other proposed changes include barring city officials and employees from hiring or supervising relatives and prohibiting employees from conducting campaign activities during work hours.
Board members first presented their proposals in August. Spinello said he wants more discussion on them at the next council work session, on Nov. 15, and a vote before the end of the year.