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Smithtown Town proposal targets nepotism

Main Street in Smithtown. (Feb. 20, 2012)

Main Street in Smithtown. (Feb. 20, 2012) Credit: Erin Geismar

A rule barring Town of Smithtown officials from hiring relatives might be added to the town’s code of ethics.

Elected officials and other town employees would not be allowed to take part in decisions to hire, promote, fire or discipline members of their families, according to a draft of the rule prepared by town attorney John Zollo. If the measure is adopted, town employees would be required to recuse themselves from decisions pertaining to relatives, Zollo said.

A public hearing on the proposed amendment will be 7 p.m. June 21, at the town’s Eugene A. Cannataro Senior Center, 420 Middle Country Rd., Smithtown.

The town ethics code does not preclude town officials from hiring family members, Zollo said. The state’s general municipal law forbids employees of government agencies from hiring certain family members when the employee could benefit from the relative’s employment.

Village of Lake Grove officials said last week village attorney Gerald L. Lotto would be replaced because his wife, Eleanor J. Lotto, is a village trustee. A state audit said Gerald Lotto could not keep his job while his wife is on the village board.

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