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New Scotland creates ethics panel

The Town of New Scotland has formed a five-member ethics committee, months after the need for one first arose.

The committee will consist of William Hennessy, Kurt Anderson, Patricia Snyder, Lyon Greenberg and Christine Galvin. Greenberg will chair the committee.

The town received three letters of interest for the positions and recruited two others, said Town Supervisor Thomas Dolin. The board now consists of two Democrats, a Republican and two non-enrolled voters. Hennessy is the chair of the town Zoning Board of Appeals the new ethics law stipulates one member of the board be a town employee.

The board terms are for three years, but the term lengths of these inaugural members are staggered.

The Town Board itself served as the town's ethics committee in the past, but when in 2008 an ethics violation issue arose, that format was found to be in violation of the state municipal code. The newly formed committee will meet to make judgment in such cases.

The Town Board is still considering amending the recently adopted ethics law to allow current employees to escape a representation provision should they elect to leave town service by the end of the year.

The law prohibits town employees from representing anyone who comes before the town for a period of two years after they leave town service. Some town workers have complained this would impact them professionally, and they should be given a chance to leave without penalty if they choose to do so.

Dolin said there is general support for this change, and a public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 31.

It was appropriate to give them an opportunity to evaluate it before they are actually subjected to the law," he said.

The law directly impacts Planning Board members Cynthia Elliott and Robert Staph, he continued, both of whom are licensed surveyors.

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