In a hastily released memo, City Hall tried to catch up to a story broken by Mid Hudson News Network, followed shortly by Cahill on Kingston, and the Daily Freeman. Earlier in the week, and without public notification, Mayor Steve Noble sent out letters to every member of the Kingston Board of Ethics, informing them that their services were no longer required. Effectively, he had dissolved the Board.
It was beginning to look like the Kingston version of Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre.
The press release, issued days after the deed had been done and hours after it began appearing in the press and local political blogs, makes little sense. In fact, it may be a violation of the Ethics Law to fire the entire board with the intent to leave the seats vacant. Look under Chapter 49-10, “Board of Ethics”.
Mayor Noble said, “I have decided to relieve the board members of their duties so that we may complete the Ethics Law revisions and launch a board appointment process that is most effective and appropriate.”
This statement gives us an indication of the desperate rush to get it out, but does little to illuminate the shadows it casts. We know that at least one of the board members’ resignations was accepted early this year. Why did the Mayor convince him to come back, only to fire them all?
The planning board has not been disbanded during the making of the Kingston Master plan. The Zoning Board has not been disbanded during the rewrite of the Zoning laws. I haven’t heard the Mayor call for resignation of the Common Council while the administration tries to gut key provisions of the Ethics law.
There is no reason this board cannot continue to “function effectively” until after the current law is changed, unless their mere existence as a board is some sort of impediment or threat to the administration’s political goals.
The Ethics Board serves at the pleasure of the Mayor. It is obvious that this board did not please Mayor Noble. Without transparency, or even the common courtesy of thanking them by name, these are the public servants Mayor Noble dismissed
Chairwoman Jean Jacobs, former School Board President and 2011 candidate for Mayor.
Karen Clark-Adin, Owner of uptown’s Bop to Tottom.
Reverend Doris Edwards Schuyler, Pastor of Riverview Baptist Church.
Brad Jordan, Owner of Herzog’s and the Kingston Plaza.
John Reinhart, Officer in the Kingston Fire Department.
They have served on this board since its inception. It is disrespectful and disingenuous to the board, and a disservice to people of Kingston, to praise the board while dissolving it, and to tell us they cannot serve honorably while this Mayor makes “revisions” to the Ethics Law.
These changes look like an attempt to hide conflicts, and make it easier to sell public office for personal gain.
This smells like retribution and political shenanigans.
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