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Ethics issues dog Malta town board

The Malta town board continued to wrestle with restructuring its ethics committee in the wake of two complaints filed recently against town Supervisor Paul Sausville.

At their agenda meeting Monday night, Jan. 28, Glenn Rockwood, chairman of a new eight-member study committee charged with making recommendations to the town board for revamping the ethics committee, reported his group's suggestions. Rockwood is also deputy town supervisor, and earlier this month was named the new planning board chairman.

We looked at the current ethics law and have suggestions to tighten it up, and take the uncertainty out of definitions, said Rockwood. "During our process, we reviewed other municipal laws and association of town guidelines."

Rockwood said the most significant change suggested, but not yet formally adopted by the town board, is to prohibit any member of a political party, town employee or elected official from serving on the ethics committee. The town's current law calls for one officer of the town to sit on the ethics board. Other suggestions included limiting terms to five years, appointing five members and two alternates, and adding a way for town officials, employees and residents to gain access to the ethics committee or get advisories on town law.

While Rockwood's committee was not charged with selecting a new roster, the group did come up with 11 names of people they contacted to see if they were interested. Some members of the audience questioned why people being called for interviews are limited to those hand-picked by the review committee.

"It's always been our policy that people should be allowed to write a letter to be considered for any committee," said councilwoman Sue Nolen.

After some discussion, the town board agreed to also accept applications from members of the public to interview for the new ethics committee. Anyone interested in applying for the Ethics Committee volunteer position must send a letter of interest and resume by Sunday, Feb. 10, to Roseanne Clavin, Supervisor's Office, Town of Malta, 2540 Route 9, Malta. Ten-minute interviews will be held on Wednesday, Feb.13, starting at 4 p.m.

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