YORKTOWN, N.Y. - In what Supervisor Michael Grace called a “somewhat embarrassing” move, the Town Board overturned its decision to reappoint Richard Rubenstein, chair of the town’s Board of Ethics, due to a legal oversight.
According to the town code, members of that board cannot serve more than two consecutive three-year terms. Therefore, the board’s appointment of Rubenstein for a third term last May was in direct violation of the code. At the Town Board meeting Nov. 1, it rescinded that vote to correct the mistake.
“I do appreciate all his years of service,” Grace said.
He added that the board should consider presenting him a token of recognition for that service.
Susan Siegel, a former town supervisor, urged the board to consider changing the law as it has changed several other parts of the code this year.
“I have to confess, I was on the Town Board when we adopted that law and I really can’t see any reason for it,” she said.
She said that Rubenstein has made several valuable contributions during his time on the Board of Ethics.
Town Attorney Michael McDermott said he researched the history of the law and believed the two-term limit was put there consciously for the Ethics Board. Grace said he believes that more-frequent turnover may be desired when it comes to that particular board.
McDermott said that his interpretation of the code is that after two terms an applicant who wants to serve again might be able to so, just not immediately after completing the previous terms.
Anyone interested in filling Rubenstein’s position should contact the supervisor’s office, Grace said.
The Board of Ethics is a five-member board appointed by the Town Board. According to the town’s website, the board “renders 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.”