malta planning board

Water service proposal muddied by ethics concerns in Malta

MALTA A proposal to procure water and sewer resources from Saratoga Water Services has been muddied by ethics concerns brought up by Town Board member Timothy Dunn.

Dunn recused himself from a portion of Monday’s town board meeting when the board brought up old business pertaining to Saratoga Water Services, citing a “disturbing” interaction he had regarding the matter.

Dunn says that President of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, Marty Vanags, requested “loyalty” during a meeting on June 12 pertaining to a vote on the proposal from Saratoga Water Services, allegedly citing his donation to Dunn’s campaign as a factor.

The Prosperity Partnership would be tasked with procuring bonds for any project involving Saratoga Water Services.

Vanags would go on to contact Dunn via his town board email, a move Dunn perceived as intent to reach him as a public figure.

Dunn subsequently refunded his campaign donation from Vanags, $50, and submitted the case to the town’s Ethics Committee. After review, the committee saw nothing requiring action on their behalf.

In a written exchange between the two, provided by both public figures, the president said his comment was misunderstood and added “I maintain a bright line between my personal political donations and my professional position…The small donation was a personal gesture that could not possibly warrant the type of ‘loyalty’ that you imply in your correspondence.”

He later added that his contacting of Dunn through his board email was just a function of the email he had on record on his computer and in no way an attempt to cross an ethical line.

In the same correspondence, Vanags accused Dunn of a “negative campaign waged against me and the Partnership, both publicly and privately, over the past two years.”

The two men previously had a contractual relationship when Dunn worked for Zone 5 and the Prosperity Partnership paid his firm $40,000 for services. Timothy Dunn is the founder of a marketing communications consulting firm.

During Dunn’s recusal, the board sought legal counsel pertaining to any proposal to deal with Saratoga Water Services, postponing any approval until proper evaluation was done. Concerns ranged from prevailing wages for workers, procuring bonds and lack of research into potential obstacles.

If approved the proposal would provide water and sewer services to the town.

Town Supervisor Vincent DeLucia said the delay was necessary but progress so far was promising.

“This has been coming for 20 years and at least we finally have some action.”

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Tomas Gomez is a freelance contributor at The Ballston Journal, a UAlbany alumni, & is allergic to fun thanks to a lifetime interest in sociology & political science.

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