Statement: Hempstead “Ethics Reform” Is A Farce that Fails to Deliver Best Measures Possible

Reclaim New York Initiative offered the following statement in response to votes today by the Hempstead Town Board that defeated eight amendments that would have greatly improved the Supervisor’s ethics reform proposal, and final passage of an ethics reform measure:

“It has taken decades for new ethics reform to be considered in Hempstead. Shamefully, a golden opportunity to deliver the best reform possible for residents was trashed as politics was put before policy, and the people.

“How can any official who voted for this call it transparency and keep a straight face when the identity of the members of the Board of Ethics is still hidden?

“This plan does nothing to protect taxpayers from waste and abuse in contracting. It refuses to show taxpayers how their money is being spent. It fails to add enforcement teeth for code of ethics violations.

“Commonsense, bi-partisan ethics reforms have been sacrificed to ram through an agenda, instead of focusing on the best policy.

“On top of all that: the plan’s arbitrary cap on outside income threatens to create more career politicians. The Supervisor’s last minute tweak that would allow council members to disclose their private business clients instead of facing the income cap is unusual, and invasive. A strengthening of the conflict of interest disclosure already on the books would have been more than enough to ensure any outside income is not coming with strings attached.

“Transparent and ethical government isn’t about party or politics – it’s about creating a more responsive government.

“Citizens deserve better. Reclaim New York Initiative will continue to work to make sure they get it.”