Editor, The Spotlight;
One of the first official acts taken by the new Town Board will be to appoint an interim town board members to fill the vacancy left by Bill Reinhardt and it is important, especially for an administration that prides itself on transparency, that this process be open and honest and the names of all applicants by made public. The appointment should serve the best interest and will of the people of Bethlehem and not simply be another example of “politics as usual.”
Moreover, to avoid creating the appearance of impropriety, the members of our Town Board have an ethical and possible legal obligation to recuse themselves from voting on the appointment of any interim town board members candidate who has made a recent financial contribution to the campaign of a current board member. This is important since it could reasonably be inferred that the campaign contribution was made in the hope that the board member would in turn use their position on the board to vote in favor of appointing that contributor should they apply for the interim town board position.
The New York State Ethics Commission has issued an Advisory Opinion (No. 98-12) that provides important guidance on this point and states that, “if a State employee has appropriately solicited a political contribution