Last week, the Ethics and Transparency Committee of Yorktown Together issued a call for all six candidates for election to the town board in Yorktown to take an ethics pledge. This pledge has 10 points that are a bedrock of good government in Yorktown.

Unfortunately, this pledge has become necessary because of issues in current town government, including what we believe are ethical lapses, a failure to govern openly with transparency, and a failure to invite, consider, and respect public input. We are asking each candidate to pledge he or she shall:

  • Not work for a private person or business, whether paid or not, if the person or business has a financial arrangement with the town or any application before the town.
  • Recuse myself from any discussions or votes where I, a family member, or a business partner could benefit.
  • Amend the Ethics Law so that the Ethics Board can publicize its findings independently of the town board.
  • Amend the Ethics Law to strengthen the financial disclosure requirements to identify potential conflicts of interest.
  • Provide early and honest estimates of the anticipated costs and revenues associated with proposed infrastructure projects.
  • Use the public address system and televise all town board and planning board meetings, including work sessions.
  • Strictly limit the subjects that may be discussed in a closed executive session.
  • Not vote on any resolution unless it is on the published meeting agenda and has been given, in writing, to all town board members at least 24 hours prior to the meeting, except for emergencies.
  • Seek and consider early public input on early drafts of new laws and the repeal of existing laws.
  • Make appointments to volunteer committees and boards based on interest and knowledge rather than political affiliation.

For more information, go to yorktownbettergovernment.org/town-issues.htm#ethics.

Stephen Filler, Elise Graham, Maura Gregory, Paul Moskowitz, Susan Siegel and Mel Tanzman are members of the Ethics and Transparency Committee of Yorktown Together.