Manorhaven to implement new code of ethics

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Manorhaven to implement new code of ethics

The Village of Manorhaven announced last Wednesday that it will hold a public hearing on the adoption of a new ethics code  and the creation of an ethics board.

The new code of ethics will replace the 1970 code that was modified in 2013, a news release said.

“Village officers and employees are committed to ethical conduct in the discharge of their duties,” Mayor Jim Avena said. “For the first time in 46 years, the Village of Manorhaven will have a new, modern code of ethics.”

Village Attorney Steven Leventhal, who served on the Nassau County Board of Ethics for 11 years, said he is drafting the new code of ethics and expects to present it to the Board of Trustees soon.

Leventhal said he has lectured and written extensively on government ethics, and also served as counsel to the ethics boards for the Town of Huntington, the Town of Oyster Bay and the Village of Sag Harbor.

“The most important part of a village having a board of ethics is being able to help honest government officials and employees to avoid unintended ethical violations,” Leventhal said. 

He said the new code of ethics will be more organized and written in clearer English.

Leventhal said he is using Article 18 of the state municipal law, which focuses on conflicts of interests, as a main source in the code.

Along with Leventhal’s own knowledge and experience of case law and a model code of ethics created by the state’s comptroller’s office, he said, he is using the writings of Mark Davies, an attorney, as a source.

The code will cover  the conduct of officers and employees of the village, situations dealing with disclosure and the powers and duties of a board of ethics, Leventhal said.

It is not yet determined who will serve on the board of ethics if it is approved, Leventhal said.

“One of the limitations you have as a small village is the need to populate the board and board of ethics members are usually uncompensated,” he said.

On Sept. 28, Leventhal and Jeffrey Blinkoff, the advising attorney to the village’s Board of Zoning Appeals, held an ethics seminar for board members and village officials, the release said.

“The purpose of the new code of ethics will be to foster integrity in government and promote public confidence,” Avena said.

The news release said the village will hold more seminars to continue educating village employees and officers.

The Board of Trustees could vote on the new code of ethics and the creation of a board of ethics at the next meeting on Oct. 27.

By Stephen Romano

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