Unclear whether Niskayuna Ethics Board will take up past complaints


Whether or not the newly reconfigured Niskayuna Ethics Board will take up complaints against a former board member after allegations were left unresolved last year is still up in the air. 

A determination will most likely come from whatever information Town Attorney Alaina Finan is able to provide on the matter, said John Sharkey, the newly appointed chairman of the board. 

Sharkey, who had been an alternate, was named as chairman Tuesday after Rabbi Matthew Cutler indicated in November that he would no longer serve on the board. 

“I asked the new town attorney to see whether it’s become moot given the circumstances,” Sharkey said about the complaints. 

While on the board member Denise Murphy McGraw had at least two known ethics complaints filed against her, including one by current board member Jason Moskowitz. The complaints were not taken up by the Ethics Board until December following a decision to name alternates to the board after The Gazette reported about possible conflicts of interest between board members, one of the complainants and McGraw. 

Sharkey said when the item was brought up in November all three alternates were used in discussions regarding how to proceed with the matter. He said Cutler recused himself due to conflict of interest but couldn’t recall the other two members who recused themselves. 

Jill LaFlamme’s and Tracy Cazer’s seats don’t expire until the end of this year. Chris Rust, who was previously an alternate, was named to the board to fill the seat once held by Vincent Valenza, said Supervisor Jaime Puccioni in an email. “Mr. Valenza’s term expired and he did not seek reappointment,” she said.

Paul Santilli was reappointed to the board Tuesday as well.

The changes to the board mean there is currently only one alternate left: Heather Odom.

“In the days ahead, the Town Board will decide how best to proceed with the selection of two additional alternates,” Puccioni said.

Sharkey said the board plans to have its first meeting on Wednesday, Feb.2. He said that will be mostly an organizational meeting. He said they will likely discuss naming a vice chair and also need to review financial disclosures. He said a spokesperson for the board will also be discussed in order to communicate with the media.

Reporter Shenandoah Briere can be reached at 518-478-3320 or [email protected]

Categories: News, Your Niskayuna

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