The past year was relatively busy for the town board of ethics, as the group was forced to use some portions of its handbook for the first time since its ratification on multiple occassions.
Dealing with cases such as allegations of malfeasance on the part of town council members not only forced the board to make landmark decisions in the town with respect to the interpretation of what it means to endorse a policy, project or contractor, but in doing so, board members were also faced with inherent inadequacies in its own procedures.
Such was the case in both the town council case and allegations of board of education members failing to comply with their own bylaws.
In both cases, action was required on behalf of the accused to open the board of ethics' probably cause meeting — a review of allegations to determine the existence of substantial evidence— to the public.
At its recent meeting, the ethics board unanimously voted to amend language in its handbook to make such meeting public and do so without requiring consent from the accused.
The board also voted to record such meetings and keep audio on file for transcription, if requested.