Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon
Long IslandNassau

Oyster Bay studying a new, tougher ethics code

Oyster Bay Town Hall is shown in this

Oyster Bay Town Hall is shown in this photo taken on Sunday, March 27, 2016. Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Oyster Bay Town officials, employees and contractors would face new restrictions and disclosure requirements under a proposed new ethics code presented to the board Tuesday night.

The proposed code was written by attorney Steven Leventhal who advised Huntington on the new code it adopted last year.

Leventhal, of Roslyn-based Leventhal, Cursio, Mullaney & Sliney LLP, told the board the proposed code was “nearly identical” to Huntington’s and was intended to advance two principle goals.

“The first is to guide and protect honest government officials and to help them stay out of trouble by understanding where the lines are drawn,” Leventhal said. “The second is to inspire public confidence in government by insuring not only reality of integrity but also the appearance of integrity in government.”

The board did not vote on the proposal, which includes a code of conduct prohibiting town employees and officials from using their position to secure benefits for themselves, relatives, members of their household, clients or anyone who has given them loans or gifts greater than $75 during the previous year.

Contractors, lessors and applicants for land use actions including variances would have to disclose any town employees and officials who have an interest in their contract, transaction or action sought, under the proposed code.

If approved, the ethics board would have expanded powers to impose civil fines of up to $10,000 for violations. The current code allows it to fine a limited number of employees or officials for deliberately not filing financial disclosure forms or withholding information.

Under the proposal, the board could fine officials, employees and contractors for any violation of the code.

Massapequa resident Robert Ripp, 54, a retired New York City police officer who has filed ethics complaints against town officials, said the current ethics board should be removed and the public should have input on who is chosen to replace them.

“You do whatever you want because you don’t have any accountability,” Ripp told the town board Tuesday night.

The town’s current ethics code was adopted in 1973 and amended in 1990.

Nassau top stories