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Ethics talks flare up

"There are provisions in the employee manual that don't apply to elected officials, such as keeping timesheets and attendance reports, reporting to supervisors if they are absent, and getting approval to work from home," said Sausville.

"We are employees of the town, and we should be held accountable the same as every other employee," said Board Member Sue Nolen.

Sausville and Thomas voted to revoke obligations of officials to comply with the manual; Nolen, Klotz and Winters voted to keep officials in compliance with the manual, including disallowing political activity.

Ethics attorney responds to complaint

In October 2007, rather than turning the complaint about Sausville's political activity over to the then-established ethics board, town attorney Thomas Peterson was directed to send the complaint to Richard Kupferman of Ballston Spa, attorney for the ethics board, for his interpretation.

In another surprise move, in January the existing ethics board was not reappointed, and the town board instead set up another committee to review the ethics law and make suggestions for new members. Interviews for new ethics panel members are taking place this month. At this time, there is no standing ethics board of review.

Delays ensued. Peterson reported at several board meetings he had not heard back from Kupferman, due in part to Kupferman being ill during the month of December. Finally, a reply from Kupferman dated Jan. 28, read by Deputy Town Supervisor Glenn Rockwood Monday night, showed his interpretation that the complaint was a challenge to town policy, rather than an act of ethical misconduct.

The letter put the complaint squarely back in the hands of the town board to send the alleged violation of town policy to the ethics committee for its advisory opinion. Board members Gerry Winters, Nolen and Klotz voted to send it on to the ethics committee, while Thomas voted not to.

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