The town of Niskayuna will hold a public hearing in August about adding no more than three alternates to the Ethics Board.
No board members commented on the resolution during Tuesday night’s Town Board meeting. Town Attorney Paul Briggs had previously said that the hearing will take place on Aug. 24.
The reconfiguration of the Ethics Board comes as concerns were raised about some Ethics Board members’ relationships to town board member Denise Murphy McGraw after resident Jason Moskowitz filed an ethics complaint regarding McGraw’s vote on a resolution in which the town hired her daughter as an employee at the town pool.
Board Chairman Rabbi Matthew Cutler has already said he will abstain from voting on the complaint because he is the rabbi for the Moskowitz family and a friend of Lewis Moskowitz, Jason Moskowitz’s father, who also filed a complaint in 2018 against McGraw.
Concerns were also raised about Jill LaFlamme’s and Tracy Cazer’s relationship with McGraw. Neither returned requests for comment on whether they would abstain. McGraw has insisted she does not socialize often with either person.
If LaFlamme and Cazer also recused themselves, it would leave only two voting members.
Briggs had said the alternates are expected to be named Oct. 21, almost a month after the next Ethics Board meeting on Sept. 29. The board was expected to discuss the ethics complaint concerning McGraw during that meeting. That will not happen now, Town Supervisor Yasmine Syed said before the town’s meeting Tuesday.
“The Ethics Board will not progress further in regards to the complaint against Councilwoman McGraw until such time as alternates have been appointed in advance of the next quarterly meeting in September,” Syed said.
The Ethics Board only meets quarterly, Briggs had said in an email.
People can apply to become an alternate, Syed had said, after which Briggs reviews the applications and makes a recommendation to the Town Board for approval.
“He’s looking for things like if you’re an attorney or have experience with ethics,” she said.
People can apply by emailing Briggs at [email protected].
Near the end of the monthly meeting, the board went into an executive session to discuss either an employment matter or an appointment concerning a specific individual. Among positions the town has not filled are that of the police chief, which was vacated when Chief Fran Wall resigned in June, and a town board position, which will be vacated with the resignation of Rosemarie Perez Jaquith, who announced she is stepping down.