Independent Counsel for Town's Board of Ethics
The Town's Board of Ethics was reconstituted in 2007. It consists of five members, who serve as citizen volunteers on an uncompensated basis. State law provides that a municipal board of ethics shall have counsel selected by it. The Town has a comprehensive Code of Ethics, and one of the innovations adopted in July 2007 was to permit residents to bring verified complaints with respect to actions asserted to violate the Town's Code of Ethics and/or the NYS municipal ethics law. The Board of Ethics in the past has been provided legal support from the Town Attorney's Office, but inside counsel frequently has had to recuse himself when a verified complaint is brought against a member of the Town Board or a senior member of the Town's administrative staff. In discussions between the Town Board and the Board of Ethics, both boards have agreed to see if one of the attorneys in the Town would have an interest in providing a significant public service to the community by serving as volunteer counsel to the Board of Ethics.
The legal services to be performed by independent counsel to the Board of Ethics would primarily be to take a lead role in the investigations of verified complaints with respect to asserted violations of the Code of Ethics and/or the NYS municipal ethics law. The Code of Ethics provides that all of the Town's public officers shall provide such documents and information as may be requested by the Board of Ethics. The scope and the nature of the investigations conducted by the Board of Ethics encompass, among other things, document discovery, interrogatories, informal interviews and examinations of witnesses under oath. Occasionally issues of legal research arise. Volunteer counsel would not be expected to render legal opinions as to whether a particular action consisted a violation of local or state ethics laws.
The Board of Ethics meets once a month, in the evenings, and operates under the NYS Open Meetings Law. For further background of its activities, the Board of Ethics maintains a "page" on the Town's website (www.greenburghny.ny), which includes subheadings for "opinions" and "important documents and reports". If you are interested in being considered for this position please e mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we will forward your bio/email to the Ethics Board.
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