City ethics board seated [Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, N.Y. :: ]
(Lockport Union-Sun & Journal (NY) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) July 03--The City of Lockport Common Council appointed three people to its new Board of Ethics Wednesday. The new members are Margaret Truax of Spruce Street, Mary Murphy of Willow Street and Dan Wilson of Haines Street.
Truax, the city historian, will serve a one-year term, Murphy will serve a two-year term and Wilson will serve a three-year term. Both Murphy and Wilson serve on the Grigg Lewis Foundation's Board of Directors.
Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey said the three appointees are all well-respected members of the community.
"I was looking for people who had the city's best interest at heart," she said. "Who had an open mind and would make sure all city ethics were being complied with."
McCaffrey said the Council had the option to name an alternate to the board, but at this time, with the board being new, members will wait to make that appointment.
The Council adopted a new code of ethics in April. As part of the new code, a three-member board had to be appointed and not include anyone on city payroll.
The board will meet at least once a year and submit a report to the council. They have the authority to perform investigations and subpoena power to compel testimony and produce evidence at its hearings. All hearings will be closed to the public and only findings of ethical violations will be made public.
The board can also recommend disciplinary actions but does not have the power to impose the penalties.
The Common Council also approved a resolution Wednesday to join a committee to study the benefits to a county-wide healthcare consortium.
The ad hoc advisory committee, made up of representatives from Niagara County municipalities, will study the costs of a county-wide municipal cooperative health plan and determine if there would be a cost savings benefit to Lockport and the other municipalities to join.
The 21 municipalities, including Niagara County itself, have faced dramatically rising healthcare costs over the past several years. The increases some municipalities have faced averages more than 15 to 18 percent annually. This rise increases pressure on municipal budgets and the burden on local taxpayers.
Governments within Niagara County currently have more than 21 different health plans, all offering different coverage to employees.
There is no cost to the city to participate in the study or join the committee.
In other city news:
Nicholas D. Rubert was appointed as streets crew leader, effective today. Rubert is being promoted and will take the place of Dave Sheehan, who retired several weeks ago.
The city also received notice from the state Department of Environmental Conservation that an aquatic herbicide will be used in Tonawanda Creek and the Erie Canal to control and eradicate the aggressive aquatic plant, hydrilla.
The treatment will take place for 48 hours between during the week of July 21 or July 28. After the treatment is finished, there will be a short window of time that swimming will not be permitted.
Contact reporter Rikki Cason at 439-9222, ext. 6252 or follow her on Twitter @rikiki23.
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