NORWICH – A state audit of ethical oversight in Chenango County has found inadequate provisions for hiring and supervising relatives, a lack of ethics training, loose financial disclosure requirements and insufficient monitoring of conflicts of interest.
Members of the Chenango County Safety and Rules Committee went into a lengthy executive session last month to address the findings, and on Monday, the full Board of Supervisors adopted a corrective action plan.
In the plan, Board Chairman Richard Decker countered that the existing provisions for ethics under local code are appropriate for the county’s small population:
“Many of (our) population are members of large extended families. The existing civil service related recruitment procedures and supervisory procedures are adequate to address any issues relating to family relationships. Arbitrary provisions barring family relationship would deprive the county of particularly well qualified candidates for both entry level and promotional positions.”
The audit was released in March after an investigation last year by the New York comptroller’s office, Division of Local Government and School Accountability. Officials interviewed county employees, reviewed the county’s code of ethics and evaluated oversight structure for ethics for the period Jan. 1, 2009 to Sept. 29, 2009. Chenango County was one of 31 municipalities selected last September to be analyzed in the audit.