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October 21, 2014
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Sullivan County ethics code considered


County treasurer Ira Cohen said, “I think you do need the change to the provision that says an abstention is an affirmative vote because that makes no sense at all. But the thing that most bothers me [in the proposed change to the rule]is the provision that says if you disclose the problem that causes you to have to abstain, because there’s either an actual objective conflict or the appearance of impropriety, if you disclose it then you can go ahead and vote. There is something very wrong about that.”

County attorney Sam Yasgur said, “The problem with writing ethics rules is that they come from right here—I’m pointing to my gut for the record—it’s very hard to put it into words. The way the present ethics rules read, you could have taken a gift of $74.99 every single day of the week for your entire tenure, and you don’t even trigger that ethics rule.”

The board agreed to take up the matter again at a later date and consider other proposed changes.