Reclaim New York Demands Records Showing Hidden Members of Hempstead Board of Ethics

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(Hempstead, NY) — To help shine light on the Hempstead Board of Ethics, Reclaim New York has filed a formal Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request with the Town of Hempstead asking for records that show the names of the three members of the Board of Ethics and their appointment dates.

Hempstead’s Board of Ethics was established in the early 90s, but the names of its members are not publicly available online. Further, at an extensive, lengthy town board meeting earlier this week, the Town Supervisor and other council members refused to answer direct questions about who is on the Board of Ethics.

“Public officials who keep the board of ethics anonymous can’t claim with a straight face that they’re pursuing transparency and open government,” said Reclaim New York Executive Director Brandon Muir.

“You can’t get open, honest government from the closed, dishonest process that produced this phony ethics reform. There can be no accountability if the members of the Board of Ethics remain anonymous. There can be no trust when council members refuse to provide answers as to who is on the board – and in one case claim to not even know who the members are,” Muir added.

It took 27 years for the Town of Hempstead to consider new ethics reform. Instead of an open process, open debate, and crafting a comprehensive plan, many commonsense reforms were voted down. The reform that was passed includes invasive and aggressive attacks against council members who have real world jobs. It does nothing to protect taxpayers from waste and abuse in contracting, and it fails to add enforcement teeth for code of ethics violations.

“Hempstead residents are being sold a bill of goods with a phony ethics reform package that ignores key areas in need of transparency,” stated Muir.

Under Freedom of Information Law, the Town has five business days to respond to the records request.