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Huntington ethics board discusses changes to the town code

The Huntington Board of Ethics and Financial Disclosure held a rare public work session Tuesday to discuss upcoming revisions to the town's ethics code.

At the meeting, the three-member board discussed a six-item agenda for about an hour before going into executive session. No comments from the public were allowed.

The areas the board discussed included filling vacancies on the ethics board, ethics training, and the need to have employees and appointees understand the code, whether through training or other efforts. They also discussed putting the code on the town's website in an "organized, logical way."

Huntington resident Michael Kornfeld said he was glad to hear the discussion even if the public was not allowed to make comments. He said he was particularly impressed with the recommendation to present comprehensive information about the board, its role and the ethics code itself, on the town's website. "I'm very anxious to see what they are going to do in terms of revising the code and also in terms of enforcing the code and educating people on it," Kornfeld said.

The board consists of a chairman, Howard Glickstein, and two members, Ralph W. Crafa and Louis C. England. Steven G. Leventhal, the ethics board's counsel, also attended Tuesday's meeting. The board is currently down two members.

The town has been working to revise the ethics code for several months. The board has been criticized in recent months after its Oct. 20 decision that it found no "technical ethical violation" by town board member Mark Cuthbertson, who voted in favor of a zoning change that allowed a condominium development proposed by Oheka Castle owner Gary Melius.

Before that decision, a Newsday investigation raised questions about business relationships between Cuthbertson and Melius.

In November, the town board voted to ask for a federal investigation into "allegations of unethical practices" involving town board members, the ethics board and that panel's legal counsel.

Adoption of the code revisions are expected to be done in June.

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