MILTON – The Town Board voted 3-1 Wednesday to set a May 3 public hearing on a controversial proposed change in the town’s ethics law.
The proposal would repeal the section of the ethics law that prohibits members of political committees from serving on town committees and boards. It also may make other changes, according to Supervisor Dan Lewza, but the details and wording of the proposed measure were not available Wednesday.
Lewza voted for the resolution along with Councilmen Frank Blaisdell and Benny Zlotnick. Councilwoman Barbara Kerr was opposed (and Councilman Scott Ostrander was absent).
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Ryan Isachsen, chairman of the town Ethics Board, asked why it had not been consulted by the Town Board in bringing forward the measure. Lewza said that would take place after the public hearing scheduled for 6:35 p.m. on May 3.
Isachsen also asked what prompted the board to propose the change. Lewza said the current town law violates the constitutional rights of citizens by restricting their ability to serve on both political and governmental bodies. Isachsen said he was not taking a position on the proposal, but “I’m questioning the process to date.”
Kerr opposes town employees serving on political committees, from which politicians seek endorsements. She also said the current law serves to reduce political partisanship.
The measure was prompted by Meg Soden, a member of the Milton Republican Committee, who wishes to serve on the Zoning Board of Appeals. The Town Board at its last meeting appointed her to that position, contingent upon the law being changed. Soden said after Wednesday’s meeting that she has not yet taken her position on the Zoning Board because of the contingent nature of the appointment, and is waiting to see what happens with the town law.
In other business, Timothy Brown, who was appointed town justice last month, was sworn in by Saratoga County Judge James Murphy.
John Battenfield was appointed to the Planning Board.