Gaughran Unveils Major Ethics Reform Proposal
Plan Inspired by the Corruption and Official Misconduct in the Town of Oyster Bay
(Oyster Bay, NY) Jim Gaughran today unveiled a major ethics reform proposal to address the crisis in Oyster Bay. Under Gaughran’s plan, elected officials who engage in corrupt behavior that undermines a municipality’s finances could face a recall election. This proposal would help ensure New Yorkers had more control over their municipalities and the elected officials sworn to act financially responsible.
“Holding elected office is a sacred responsibility, and the voters deserve the power to hold their leaders accountable following cases of blatant corruption and financial ruin,” Jim Gaughran said. “The leader-caused crisis in Oyster Bay is absolutely irresponsible and it is the taxpayers who are suffering as a result of their elected officials’ actions. My common sense proposal would help ensure that voters are given great power in kicking corrupt officials out of office.”
The Gaughran ethics reform proposal would establish a provision in state law to allow for recall elections under very narrow parameters. If a municipality’s bond rating were lowered to ‘junk status’ due to reasons directly linked to corrupt actions undertaken by elected officials, residents would be able to petition for a recall of those leaders. Residents would also be able to petition for the recall of local elected officials who were aware of the corruption and refused to take action. Citizens would file a petition with a State Supreme Court Justice who would then determine if the official’s action or failure to act led to the drop in bond rating. If the judge determines wrongdoing was committed, citizens would then be empowered to file a recall petition with the appropriate Board of Elections. This step would protect against frivolous or retaliatory recall efforts, and ensure that any recall petitions be carefully reviewed and considered before elections are authorized.
When announcing his ambitious ethics reform proposal, Jim was joined by local elected officials, former candidates for office and concerned citizens, all of whom are tired and frustrated by the corruption and financial crisis in Oyster Bay. Due to the corrupt actions of Oyster Bay officials, the municipality, one of the wealthiest in the nation, saw its bond rating dropped to junk status. This action was a direct result of elected officials’ actions, yet it will be local taxpayers who suffer the consequences. Under the bold proposal offered by Jim Gaughran, other municipalities will be better positioned to avoid having to endure a similar crisis. Jim has also committed to co-sponsoring Assemblyman Lavine’s legislation to appoint a fiscal monitor for Oyster Bay to help solve this crisis and turn the town’s finances around.
Assemblyman Charles Lavine said, “Oyster Bay families are suffering because they have been failed by their elected leaders. I applaud Jim Gaughran for his ambitious proposal and for his dedication to holding elected officials responsible for their actions. His plan is a common sense way to ensure what is happening in Oyster Bay never happens again. I look forward to co-sponsoring this legislation in the State Assembly.”
Former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Candidate John Mangelli said, “For too long, Oyster Bay residents have seen their town’s credit rating plummet, all because of the corrupt actions of a few elected officials. When people are elected to office, they commit themselves to serving the taxpayers, not enriching themselves and their cronies. Jim Gaughran’s initiative will help ensure that when corrupt elected officials directly cause credit ratings to plummet to junk status, taxpayers will be able to take action. This is a good plan, and I look forward to Jim continuing to push it as a candidate and as a State Senator next year.”
James Gaughran is currently running for State Senate, and was born and raised on Long Island and has deep roots in the community, both as a former elected official and a private businessman. Jim represented a substantial part of the 5th Senate District, when he served as a Huntington Town Councilman and later as a Suffolk County Legislator. As a councilman, Jim authored one of New York’s first full-disclosure laws requiring local officials to disclose all sources of outside income. Jim’s innovative ethics reforms are now seen as models for what Albany should do to end the corruption crisis that has eroded trust in state government.