New Scotland ethics law back on table

Unsafe building law, welcome center also discussed

Just weeks after passing a more robust ethics law, the New Scotland Town Board is considering amending it to allow town employees or officers to escape a representation clause should they leave town employment before the end of the year.

The law in its current form forbids former officers or employees of the town from representing anyone coming before the town for a period of two years after their employment ends. The revision would allow anyone leaving town service on or before Dec. 31, 2010, to be exempt from that rule.

Some already working for the town have said the provision is like changing the rules midstream, said Town Attorney Michael Mackey, so the revision will allow them to opt out if they wish.

It gives them a window of opportunity to think about it and make up their mind, he said.

The provision is of particular concern for licensed professionals like engineers, builders or attorneys who might sit on review boards and still have clients who need to appear before the town.

Assessment Board of Review member Roselyn Robinson said this part of the ethics law might discourage experienced professionals from lending their service to the town.

"Sometimes these are the most qualified people you want on boards," she said.

The Town Board agreed to study this element of the law, but did not take any action at a Wednesday, July 14, meeting.

"It's a pretty lengthy and really a pretty complicated document," Councilman Richard Reilly said.

The town is also seeking residents who would like to serve on the Board of Ethics.

The board terms are for three years, but on the first board two members will serve until the end of the year, two until the end of 2010 and one will serve until the end of 2011. There is a limit of three consecutive terms.

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