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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Former Deputy Corporate Counsel Appointed to Ethics Board by Schenectady City Council


SCHENECTADY — Christopher Marney, the former Deputy Corporation Counsel of Schenectady, has been proposed as a⁤ new member of the city’s ethics board.⁤ This comes just⁣ a month after he left his⁤ position in the corporation counsel’s office due to a⁤ staff reshuffle.

If approved, Marney will ​become the fifth member of the ethics board, joining the ranks of⁣ Board Chair Fr.​ Dominic Isopo, police Lt. Mike Dalton, and attorneys Lawrence Dahlke and Lawrence DeAngelus.

Marney’s ⁢departure from the counsel’s office at the end of 2023 ⁣was part of a series of staffing changes initiated by Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, who replaced former​ Corporation Counsel Andrew⁤ Koldin with Maxine ⁣Barasch.

Currently, Marney is⁢ practicing law at the Brick Law Firm ​in Albany.

City Council President Marion Porterfield revealed that Marney had shown interest in the ethics panel, but his position in⁣ the corporation counsel’s office had previously prevented him from serving on the board.

“The board is predominantly⁣ composed of attorneys, which ⁢is beneficial given the nature ‌of the​ issues they handle. Having such ​a background is advantageous, and Mr. Marney ⁢certainly fits the criteria,” she⁤ commented on Thursday.

The ethics board had to cancel its last ​meeting on Feb. 1, due to the inability to gather⁢ a quorum. Isopo is currently ⁢on a‍ break from the board as ⁤he recovers from a knee surgery.

“The chair’s absence⁤ will likely cause further issues as he⁢ is unable to serve⁤ for some time,” Porterfield mentioned‌ during⁢ the city ⁢council’s⁢ meeting ‍last Monday.

She⁤ also pointed out during the Monday meeting ⁣that since ⁤Mayor‍ McCarthy did not nominate a fifth member of the ethics board within 30 days after the board reconvened last April, the city council has the authority to nominate its own candidate.

The council’s Government Operations Committee gave‌ their approval to the nomination during last week’s‍ meeting,‍ forwarding ‍the candidate to ‌the full council for ⁣a vote at its meeting this Monday.

Since its reactivation last spring, the ethics panel has made rulings on two cases involving City Councilman Damonni Farley. The board​ had been inactive for an extended period, with its‌ last ruling⁤ issued in 2013, which cleared Porterfield’s mother of ​conflict of interest ‍charges related to a home improvement grant.

In August of last year, Farley was cleared of ethics violations ⁤brought by then-Councilman John Polimeni, who claimed that‍ Farley’s contracts with the Schenectady‌ City School District and unpaid state income ​taxes were conflicts of interest with his public​ office. The board also ‌cleared Farley ‌last month of any violations related to allegations that he attempted‌ to ‌use ⁤his council position to retrieve a towed car belonging to a⁤ friend during ‍phone ⁣conversations with Lt.​ Dalton and⁢ a county dispatcher.

In December,​ City Councilman‍ Carl Williams lodged an ethics complaint against Polimeni, alleging that the⁤ councilmember, whose term expired‍ at the⁣ end of 2023, had been living in⁢ Rotterdam since ⁤February 2023 while serving ‌on the‌ Schenectady council.

This complaint​ is still pending and is set to be discussed at the ⁣ethics‍ board’s next meeting on Feb. 29.

Kiara Thomas
Kiara Thomas
I uncover quirky and compelling stories. Always on the lookout for the 'why' behind the 'what'.
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  1. Agree It’s great to see someone with legal expertise and experience being appointed to the Ethics Board. They will bring a valuable perspective and ensure ethical standards are upheld in Schenectady.


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