The Essex County Board of Supervisors
The Essex County Board of Supervisors re-appointed a member to its Ethics Board but not without procedural concerns being raised.
The supervisors completed the re-appointment of Alexander Shmulsky to the Ethics Board for a five-year term during its Nov. 5 regular meeting. During the Oct. 22 Ways and Means Committee meeting, some concerns were raised that the position was not advertised.
“As the request letter to Mr. Douglas states, Mr. Shmulsky’s term has expired and I feel that any expired term should be advertised and letters of interest to be on this board should be received and evaluated to replace them,” Keene Supervisor Bill Ferebee said.
County Attorney Dan Manning said he felt that Shmulsky deserved the chance to have another term since he was appointed to a one-year term when the board was first created.
“The local law provides for terms of one to five years and they are all staggered,” Manning said. “Mr. Shmulsky’s term was a one-year term, it is now up, so that means that everybody shifts down the line and he would have to take the five-year term so that is why they have recommended it. The local law also provides that a person may serve on the Ethics Board for two consecutive terms; that does not mean that you have to appoint him but that he may serve.”
Manning also said that the board recommended Shmulsky be re-appointed.
Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava agreed with Ferebee.
“So as these terms expire, if you are just going to rotate around and move them back in, I think there are other people and in fact I know there are other people that were interested in serving — well qualified people that were interested in serving on the Ethics Board and I agree that it should be advertised,” Scozzafava said. “I mean there is a reason why we put different staggered terms in there.”
Board Chair and Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas said he felt that the Ethics Board needed consistency in its infancy, along with prompting the strengths of Shmulsky.
“I have met with the Ethics Committee a couple of times over the last few year and they have put a lot of time and effort into this,” Douglas said. “I am not saying that there isn’t someone out there willing to do it but again he is an attorney. It takes a while for them to get up to speed on the rules and regulations of the Ethics Committee so I would say that I think it is in our best interest right now to stick with the recommendation of Mr. (Michael) Orticelle.”
Westport Supervisor Dan Connell said he felt that eventually there would be advertised positions but for now, the best option was to re-appoint.
“I think our thought as we went through this was that these would be advertised in the future but the first couple, because they were only going to be there a year or two years, would be reappointments,” Connell said. “I do agree as we go down the line that these need to be advertised, but I think for the first couple of years as we are getting into the full terms for people, I am going to support this reappointment.”
Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley said she felt the recommendation of the committee chair was the key.
“In our town, we always take the recommendation seriously of the chairman of a committee,” Bartley said.
Douglas said that in the future, the county would look into advertising upcoming vacancies on the board, but would not for this one.
“As we move forward maybe it is in our best interest to advertise the next time a vacancy comes up,” Douglas said. “I really don’t think it is in our best interest to do that at this particular time.”