Extensive Code of Ethics changes proposed by the Greenburgh Town Council were unanimously adopted today at a special meeting of the Town Board. The new Code of Ethics will effectively end any possibility of pay-to-play politics in the Town of Greenburghand could well be the strongest ethics code in New YorkState.
Pay-to-play is when developers with applications make campaign contributions to town officials who decide on those applications. In the old code, Greenburgh officials were barred from soliciting those contributions, but could accept them. The new law closes a loophole that allowed developers with applications pending to give money to public officials.
The Town Council – Eddie Mae Barnes, Steve Bass, Diana Juettner and Francis Sheehan – worked with the Board of Ethics and community members to craft the new law. The proposal was revised in response to comments made at a public hearing last week resulting in a Code of Ethics that is one of the strongest in the state. Greenburgh residents deserve no less.
The new law prohibits town officials from accepting contributions from applicants, their lawyers and consultants and stops this type of contribution for one year before the application is filed until one year after the application has been decided or withdrawn.
The members of the Town Council are committed to addressing important issues such as ethics reform and putting an end to any possibility of pay-to-play politics. We have a duty and responsibility under state law to keep our decision-making free from even an appearance of impropriety.
The important issues of providing clean air and clean water to residents by protecting against overdevelopment must be balanced with protecting the rights of property owners. To do this, our decision-making process must always be on the merits and completely taint-free.
We are ending any possibility of pay-to-play politics in Greenburgh. That is a major triumph for good government everywhere.