Manorhaven adopts new code of ethics

Stephen Romano

The Village of Manorhaven on Thursday adopted a new code of ethics, replacing the former village code from 1970.

The village trustees voted unanimously at a public hearing to enact the code of ethics, which also includes the creation of a board of ethics.

“No municipality that has a code of ethics has a more up to date one as this,” said Village Attorney Steven Leventhal, who wrote the code.

Leventhal, who served on the Nassau County Board of Ethics for 11 years, said the new code is written in “plain English and is very comprehensive.”

Leventhal said the code is broken into three sections: employees of the village, situations dealing with disclosure, and the powers and duties of a board of ethics.

“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 last month.

“This is something we needed and it’s something important and good for us,” Mayor Jim Avena said. “We definitely needed an updated version and that’s one of Steve’s expertise, and he did a great job.” 

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

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

“It is a village code that is state of the art,” he said.

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

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

By Stephen Romano

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