Saturday, September 02, 2006

In case you don't get it...

The two problems with so-called minor ethical slips are 1) they turn into bigger ones sooner or later and 2) taxpayers don't appreciate it when our public monies are spent in support of views and people with whom we disagree. Those are some of the reasons why many of us are unhappy with Sweeney's "Congressional Winter Challenge" and his recent photo op at a city workplace. Here's an excellent editorial from The Saratogian on the latter:

The commissioner, Ron Kim, might have looked the other way were he a Republican, like Sweeney. But this should not be shrugged off as political sour grapes. Kim is raising a legitimate question whose answer should be heeded by all, regardless of political persuasion.

The city's code of ethics states that the city workplace and city employees should not be part of election campaigns or political events.

Sweeney's visit was inarguably both. ...

When candidates make the rounds for public employees' union endorsements, those meetings should be set up off-hours. If Gillibrand and her entourage attempted to make the same kind of appearance at the firehouse as Sweeney, would she be welcome? Would the Republicans balk? Public employees shouldn't put themselves in the position of picking and choosing politicians to showcase, especially while the employees are on duty. In fact, the fire alarm went off while they were there.

Sweeney's spokeswoman and John "Jasper" Nolan, the Saratoga County Republican chairman, would have been advised to clam up and let the Board of Ethics review the case, rather than releasing inflammatory statements bemoaning the Democrats for picking on a "hard working public servant," referring to the union chief.

This is not about the union chief. It's about policies, propriety and fairness.

It is appropriate for the Board of Ethics to review and clarify the rules for city property and city employees, no matter who they support for office.



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