Ethics complaint against Ballston councilwoman thrown out

Ballston councilwoman Mary Beth Hynes had an ethics complaint filed against her with the Ballston Ethics Committee by fellow councilmember Jeremy Knight in January, but she's been exonerated after the committee found no conflict of interest with her sitting on the town board and the Saratoga County Water Authority board, according to a Feb. 6 letter obtained by the Spotlight.

Committee chair Michael Prezioso wrote that the committee met on Feb. 6 to consider the advisory opinion brought to them by Knight, which stated Hynes breached an ethical boundary by simultaneously serving as a town board member and representative to the county water authority.

After careful review of the Town Code, the board determined it does not have jurisdiction to render the opinion you requested because it found no direct or indirect pecuniary or material interest stemming from Ms. Hynes' membership on the Board of the Saratoga County Water Authority, wrote Prezioso.

Hynes said she was relieved to have her name cleared in time for the council to vote on the connection of the water pump at the Tuesday, Feb. 23 meeting.

"I never thought there was anything other than pure political smear behind this complaint," said Hynes.

While Knight had stated in his complaint that it would be unethical for Hynes to vote on anything pertaining to water on the town level, she has maintained that since there was no proof of financial conflict of interest with her sitting on both boards, there was no ethical dilemma in the first place.

"If I held a business interest in a company that would make money off the contract with the water authority, of course I wouldn't vote. But I don't and it's part of my job in being appointed to the water authority board to bring back to Ballston any information about the county water system and be a liaison between the two boards," said Hynes.

Hynes was instrumental in renegotiating the water contract with Saratoga County so the town would only have to buy 150,000 gallons a day as opposed to the 375,000 it was originally supposed to purchase. Under its contract with Glenville, it must also purchase 100,000 gallons a day from them until 2022.

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