Party politics has no place in governance. Sadly, on Long Island, that is easier said than accomplished.
So we commend Islip and Supervisor Angie Carpenter for considering changes to the town’s ethics code that would attempt to separate the two. That would make Islip an exception rather than the rule when it comes to municipalities across the region. But we urge Islip to go back to the drawing board before voting on the changes to patch some holes in the proposed rules and make them as strong as possible, and then vote on a measure that could serve as a model for other municipalities around Long Island.
One provision in the revised code would ban elected officials from holding major political party leadership positions. That’s a good start, but minor parties should not be excluded. The attempt to weed out politics should attempt to weed out all politics, not just what comes from the two major parties. In addition, the provision as written applies only to elected officials. It also should include some appointed positions, for example, department heads who have hiring power. Giving party leaders any authority to hire and fire would invite patronage.
Other worthy changes include requiring elected officials to disclose campaign contributions from anyone with a pending application before the town, and prohibiting any town official or employee from participating in hiring or firing of a family member.
Experience repeatedly has shown the difficulty of ensuring that government is by the people and for the people, not by the party and for the party. Islip gets credit for taking on the fight. Now it needs to land the strongest blow it can. — The editorial board