Three of Greenport’s five Village Board members haven’t filed conflict of interest disclosure forms in Village Hall, as required by state law, although all five have filed the proper forms with New York State.
The three who didn’t file with the village — Deputy Mayor George Hubbard and Trustees Chris Kempner and Michael Osinski — all cited the same reason: no forms were supplied to them to do so. Auditors for the village supplied only the forms that they filed with the state.
The issue came up at Monday night’s Village Board meeting when Ms. Kempner, who has been pushing the topic for more than a year, proposed a resolution to require that completed forms be filed with the village clerk. As Riverhead community development director, she has filed a form in that town but she’s been leading the charge in Greenport to see the board mandate what state law already requires.
Asked by a reporter after the meeting why she thought a local resolution was needed, Ms. Kempner said she had been asking for action for months and “it just hasn’t happened,” she said. But if she was familiar with the form because she had filed one with the state and in Riverhead, why didn’t she file one with the village, too, she was asked. There’s no local resolution requiring it, she answered.
The board eventually agreed to her request, voting 5-0 to require disclosure forms to be filed by Village Board members and management personnel with the village clerk annually.
Both Mayor David Nyce and Trustee Mary Bess Phillips said they had filed their forms with the village clerk. Ms. Phillips said she had filed hers when she was first elected in 2008. She used a form she had found on the state comptroller’s website, she said.
“I thought it was part of being a trustee,” Ms. Phillips said, explaining why she had filed as soon as she was elected. Noting that state law requires such disclosures, she asked Ms. Kempner why she needed a village resolution.
Ms. Kempner said she thought the requirement should be a part of the village ethics code. That raised the question of why village attorney Joseph Prokop, asked months ago to do so, hadn’t come back to the board with suggestions for changes he thought necessary in the code of ethics.
He did review the code, but hadn’t submitted a written report, he said. He promised to do so within a week and include a provision in line with the resolution unanimously approved by the board Monday night.
While agreeing that Village Board members and management employees should all file disclosure forms with the village, Mr. Osinski drew a laugh when he noted, “We all know each others’ business more than we want to know.”
Also on Monday, board members voted unanimously to require management employees to submit time sheets monthly to Mr. Nyce indicating the time they devote to specific projects. The original resolution on the agenda called for weekly sheets to be submitted to the village clerk, but Mr. Osinski thought monthly sheets were sufficient to avoid too much paperwork and Ms. Phillips objected to the reports going to the village clerk, who doesn’t supervise other management personnel.
Mr. Prokop was instructed to submit proposed parking regulations to Village Board members by Oct. 4. The proposed resolutions are to be made available to the public by Oct. 11 and then subject to a public hearing, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 25 at 6 p.m.
Former trustee Bill Swiskey complained about the flow of information from Village Hall, saying that Freedom of Information requests he had filed were being inadequately answered.
“Getting information out of the village seems to be getting worse and worse and worse,” he said.
Mr. Nyce passed his complaint on to village clerk Sylvia Lazzari Pirillo, asking her to work through the requests with Mr. Swiskey at Village Hall Tuesday morning.
When Mr. Nyce refused to answer several other questions Mr. Swiskey posed about the availability of specific information — questions the mayor said previously had been answered — Mr. Swiskey told the mayor, “I think you’re running this place into the ground. Leadership here is really silly,” he said.
Mr. Nyce is looking for volunteers to fill a vacancy on the Planning Board.
He appointed Denise Rathbun to the Zoning Board of Appeals, replacing Sharon Klotzer, who resigned. Ms. Rathbun’s term runs through April 1, 2011.
Meghan Mills replaces Diana Van Buren on the Historic Preservation Commission with a term that runs until April 1, 2015.
Peter Clarke was appointed to the Greenport Business Improvement District, filing a seat vacated by Diane Gilmore. His term expires June 1, 2011.