Floral Park trustees OK ethics law update

Grace McQuade
Floral Park’s Village Hall is seen on Floral Boulevard. (Photo from Google Maps)

Floral Park’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday unanimously approved revisions to the ethics code that all village officials and employees must follow.

The changes are the first major update to the ethics code since it was adopted in 1970, Mayor Thomas Tweedy has said.

The law has new sections on nepotism and the use of municipal resources and language clarifying the definition of “relative” to comply with the new anti-nepotism rules.

The changes also update the definition of a gift; prohibit accepting gifts that appear to influence an employee in the performance of official duties; and expand provisions that restrict future work for private companies that any village employee dealt with while performing their government jobs.

The new law also requires that the revised ethics code be distributed to every village officer and employee within 20 days after the changes are filed with the New York secretary of state.

“The changes come into conformity with state and county law,” village Attorney John Ryan said.

The Board of Trustees invited the public to submit comments on the suggested revisions over the past month.

There was no community feedback, Tweedy said, and local civic associations also did not comment when given the opportunity to hear the proposed law.

The board first met in early January to discuss proposed changes to the ethics code, which is intended to prevent misconduct, such as bribery or corruption, in the village government.

The changes proposed by the five-member village Board of Ethics, which includes Deputy Mayor Kevin Fitzgerald, fell in line with the model code of ethics set by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office. 

The ethics board met several times over the past few months to review the existing code, which had not been revised in decades, and suggested changes to correspond with state ethics regulations while establishing the village’s own code of conduct.

Tweedy praised the ethics code in January, saying it had “served the village well” since it was first adopted.

Also on Tuesday, Tweedy publicly thanked trustees and the local community for the support he received after the death of his father, James E. Tweedy.

“Family and faith is the manifestation of the love we share together in the wonderful place we call Floral Park,” Tweedy said. “… Thank you for your many kindnesses and your caring understanding.”

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