The Sag Harbor Village Board has established a new Board of Ethics and immediately appointed three members to serve on it, years after Albany approved ethics guidelines for public officials.
Many municipalities immediately established their own ethics boards after the state action in 2011, and while Sag Harbor did update its ethics law to include a new board in April 2014, it had never created one until now, according to Village Attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr.
Mayor Sandra Schroeder had said the board had been working on finding village residents interested in serving on the board for quite some time. “We finally came up with three candidates and got it done,” she said, referring to the vote to create the board, and appoint its first three members, during last week’s special board meeting.
The three board members, all of whom are volunteers, include Sag Harbor Village Planning Board Chairman Gregory Ferraris and residents Frank Cafiso Jr. and Jeffrey Brown. Mr. Ferraris will serve as chair, and Mr. Cafiso will serve as vice chair of the board.
Ms. Schroeder said she picked the individuals whom she admires most in the village. “They are honest, have great integrity and are caring,” she said. “They have everything you want in a member.”
The members of the new board will serve an important role in the community, as they will be responsible for reviewing all financial disclosure forms filed by the village’s elected and appointed officials. Members will also be asked to provide advisory opinions whenever a village official or employee possibly violates the ethics code.
“If anybody has a complaint, as far as an ethical violation, that would also go to the board,” said Mr. Thiele, who also serves in the State Assembly.
“It is not like we are trying to pull fast ones,” the mayor said. “It is not like it is a steady thing—[they’ll meet] when there is an issue.”
Board members will serve three-year terms and meet only on an as-needed basis, Ms. Schroeder noted.