I filed a complaint with the Yorktown Ethics Board on April 4. The complaint questioned why Supervisor Michael Grace did not recuse himself from voting on a commercial tax abatement law (485-b business improvement exemption tax), which may benefit him directly or indirectly, should he sell some of his property, according to the Unicorn Contracting Corporation application.
Per the Yorktown town website, the board of ethics is a “board appointed by the town board. They render advisory opinions on specific situations or when requested, on the conduct of an official or employee, in accordance with the provisions of the adopted Code of Ethics.”
According to their mission statement, “We are committed to providing performance and counsel of the highest quality in keeping with the Ethics Code of the town of Yorktown.”
The town website goes on to state that the members of the board of ethics “dedicate our efforts to earning the respect, trust and confidence of the public and town officials by acting with integrity, non-partisanship and confidentiality.”
Their process begins with receipt of complaint and ends with either dismissal of the complaint or the rendering of an advisory opinion to the town board. That’s where their role ends.
They do not make disciplinary decisions! That is reserved for the town board. Since the complaint is against the town supervisor, who heads the town board and has great influence over the majority of the town board’s councilmen and all of his appointees, everyone should question the ethics of the entire process and the very mission stated above. This process gives me little “confidence.”
I have not even been contacted by the ethics board to acknowledge receipt or investigation into the complaint.
This is self-policing and everyone knows how fair that process is! There is no “integrity” in self-policing.
When a town board’s member is the subject of an ethics complaint, an independent party or committee should evaluate the merits of the complaint and take disciplinary action. This should be at all levels of government.