Question of Ethics

TIMELINE  OF EVENTS

[See Coalition Position Paper – Chronology for additional info] 

Fall 2004 – Victor receives grant from Ken Lou Foundation (Rick Williams, chair of GROC Advocacy Committee.) for Dryer Road Park. 
GROC is Genesee Regional Off-Road Cyclists (Mountain bikers), and was formally called Victor Mt. Biking Club.

Dryer Road Park, Victor and Brian put on bike races and running events – both personal hobbies of Brian’s. 
Fat Tire Festival (Sponsored by GROC) 
Black Diamond Duathlon  (Sponsored by Victor Parks & Rec)

June 2006 - Application submitted by Town of Victor for AuburnTr. Extension Project. 
The application states there is great community support, and “no opposition is expected.” 
And yet many environmental groups HAD raised concern for this area.

January 30, 2008 – Public Open House 
Comments were OVERWHELMINGLY  for keeping the trail as is. (Or about a few homeowner concerns.) 
There were no identifiable comments from the mt. biking community. 

February 8, 2008 – Meetings between Coalition representatives and the Sponsor and Consultant. 
One of the points emphasized by the Coalition was that a narrow trail was what most users want, and had expressed at the Open House. Mr. Emelson said that the Town still wanted to hear from other users, and noted that he was “well connected to the biking community.”

March 3 – Per Brian Emelson, Andy August, owner of a local bike shop,  gets the word out to Mountain bikers to submit comments. (Click image at right.)
       
A large number of similar comments from mt. bikers supporting the project pour in.

Involved entities meeting May 28 

After this meeting, comments again flood in from bikers on width issue. (May 30 – early June) 

Suggested e-mail content: (from comments themselves) 
“As a trail user, cyclist and user of alternative transportation routes I feel that the compromise of path width from the standard 10’ to 8’ feet and in some places 6’ are acceptable based on the proposed alternative plan” 


November 24, 2008 – Victor Town Board Meeting 

Brian hands Board member Hessney a packet of comments. Hessney asks if they are the same as the Draft Design report (which should represent ALL of the public comments submitted Brian says they are. We get a copy and find that they are instead 53 selective comments favoring a wider trail or the project in general – almost none representative of leave it as is or narrow width.


CODE OF ETHICS LAW

The Victor Code of Ethics says: "The rules of ethical conduct of this chapter, as adopted, shall not conflict with, but shall be in addition to, any prohibition of Article 18 of the General Municipal Law or any other general or special law relating to ethical conduct and interest in contracts of municipal officers and employees." 

This code points back to the NYS Town Law as follows: 

Laws of New York, PBO (Public Officers), Article 4 (Powers and Duties of Public Officers)
Section 74, Code of Ethics 

§ 74. Code of ethics. 1. Definition. (Excerpts)

2.) Rule with respect to conflicts of interest. No officer or employee 
of a state agency, member of the legislature or legislative employee 
should have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or 
engage in any business or transaction or professional activity or incur 
any obligation of any nature, which is in substantial conflict with the 
proper discharge of his duties in the public interest. 

The public interest is what the public wants - not what Brian wants 
due to his personal interests. It is not appropriate to call a buddy to 
get the word out to support his preference for the project.

3f.) An officer or employee of a state agency, member of the legislature 
or legislative employee should not by his conduct give reasonable basis 
for the impression that any person can improperly influence him or 
unduly enjoy his favor in the performance of his official duties, or 
that he is affected by the kinship, rank, position or influence of any 
party or person. 

By his conduct (below) he is giving impression that he is influenced 
by one constituency - mt. bikers. 

3h.) An officer or employee of a state agency, member of the legislature 
or legislative employee should endeavor to pursue a course of conduct 
which will not raise suspicion among the public that he is likely to be 
engaged in acts that are in violation of his trust.

He has generated a great deal of suspicion that he is not working in 
the interests of the public - but his own interests. Even as far as selectively 
choosing certain comments to give to the town board, and representing 
them as public comments, which were in the draft report. (See below)