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Huntington Approves Sweeping Ethics Code Revisions

The Huntington Town Board, a its June 9 meeting, approved sweeping revisions to the Town’s Code of Ethics, expanding who must file a disclosure statement and what must be disclosed, as well as including a comprehensive code of conduct for Town employees.

The revised code also adds new training requirements for Town employees and increases the required number of public meetings the Board of Ethics and Financial Disclosure must hold to four from the current one. The new code also provides for increased transparency by calling for creation of a plain-language booklet explaining the ethics code and by requiring prominent placement and utilization of the Town’s website.

The new version divides the Ethics Code into three sections: a clear and comprehensive Code of Conduct; expanded disclosure requirements; and powers and duties of the Board of Ethics and Financial Disclosure. It expands the universe of people required to file financial disclosures to include policy makers and requires all public officials to disclose specific client information.

In a related matter, the Town Board amended the terms of contract with the law firm Leventhal, Cursio, Mullaney & Spector, which was hired earlier this year as counsel to the Town’s Board of Ethics and Financial Disclosure, to reflect the additional work the firm will be doing as a result of the revised ethics code.

In other action, the Town Board:

— set a July 14 public hearing on a proposal to regulate the recreational use of drones, banning the flying of drones over property without written consent of the owner, flying them more than 400 feet from the ground, in adverse weather conditions or under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, among other provisions,,

— adopted the Town of Huntington Climate Action Plan, which offers programs policies and projects as a means to achieve goals for energy efficiency, greenhouse gas reduction and climate adaptation. Adopting the plan is part of the Climate Smart Communities Pledge the Town approved in 2012 and could help the Town in applications for state planning grants.

— approved a $1,496,482.75 contract with Patterson-Stevens Inc. for waterproofing at the South Parking Garage at the Huntington Long Island Rail Road station. The project is one of the last phases in the rehabilitation of the garage. The majority of the cost, $1,134,000, will be paid by federal and state grants.

— authorized agreements with artists for installation of art works on five traffic signal boxes in Huntington Village, as part of the Town’s Public Art Initiative. In other areas around the country, art on traffic signal boxes has been effective in reducing graffiti.

— approved a $59,000 contract with 3M Traffic Safety and Security Division to conduct a survey of all the traffic signs in the Town and to create a GIS-compatible sign data management inventory. The contract will help the Town meet a federal requirement to conduct an assessment of traffic safety and warning signs and establish an on-going management program that will ensure that the signs meet federal visibility standards.

— authorized implementation of an electronic time and attendance system, a move that will help the Town move towards achieving its goal under the state-required tax freeze/government efficiency plan by helping to monitor and control payroll costs.

— approved additions to the required soil testing at the proposed Burrs Lane and Sweet Hollow Parks, a move that is estimated to produce significant savings when the necessary soil mitigation at the sites begins.

— approved the purchase of 16 accessible picnic tables for the Senior Beach House at Centerport Beach and kayak rack materials for installation at seven Town beaches.

— scheduled July 14 public hearings on two measures relating to the removal of sand, gravel and other excess material from construction sites. One requires a permit for the removal of the material; the other sets fees to reflect current market values. The proposals are aimed at stemming unnecessary clearance and disturbance to various properties in the Town.



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