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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Marney’s Nomination for Ethics Board Denied Once More by Schenectady Council

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SCHENECTADY — The city council’s attempt to appoint former Deputy Corporation Counsel‌ Christopher Marney to the city’s ​ethics board hit a roadblock for the second time during Monday night’s meeting. However, City Council President Marion Porterfield remains undeterred and plans ‍to propose Marney’s name for the board for ​a third time.

At the council’s meeting on Feb.⁤ 12, City Councilwoman Doreen Ditoro called for a roll call⁣ vote ‌on Marney’s nomination. Unfortunately, the motion fell flat ‌as no other ‍board member seconded ⁤her proposal.

Porterfield, who initially recommended Marney for the ethics board, put forth his nomination for a second time. The‍ board voted 3-2 in favor of his appointment on Monday evening, falling one vote⁢ short of ⁤the required four-vote⁢ council majority. City‌ Councilmembers Joseph Mancini and Damonni Farley were absent from the meeting.

Porterfield, along with City Councilmembers⁤ Carl Williams and John Mootooveren, supported the resolution, ⁢while City ‌Councilmembers Carmel ‍Patrick ⁤and Ditoro opposed the ⁤nomination.

Following ‌Monday’s meeting, Porterfield expressed her intention to propose Marney’s nomination for a ‍third time to the‍ full council.

“I’m definitely going‍ to bring it back again,” she ⁢affirmed. “We had two people absent tonight, so absolutely I’m going to bring it back.”

Marney served in the city’s ⁤corporation counsel office from December 2021 to ⁤January 2024. He left⁤ the office amid ​staffing changes ⁤that‌ led‍ to Schenectady ‌Mayor Gary McCarthy replacing former Corporation Counsel Andrew Koldin with Maxine Barasch.

After Marney’s initial nomination to the ethics board, McCarthy hinted at the possibility of ⁣vetoing ⁢Marney’s appointment if ‌approved by the council.

Patrick expressed on Tuesday that Marney’s recent role with the city influenced ⁤her decision to oppose the nomination.

“It ‍just seemed to be that having just left his employment with the city that it was still a little ‌too soon for me to consider him⁣ for⁣ the ethics committee,” Patrick explained.

The ethics board ⁣currently comprises four members, with chair Father Dominic Isopo unable⁤ to serve while he recovers from knee surgery. The ethics panel had to cancel its scheduled Feb. 1 meeting due ⁢to the lack of a quorum.

The ethics board’s next meeting is scheduled for ⁢Thursday evening.

“I think ⁣he’s ‍a worthwhile candidate, and frankly, the board needs‌ to be‌ fully composed,” Porterfield said of Marney. “Right ⁢now, one of the people is going to be out with indefinite sick time, so having three people means⁤ that every person there ⁢has to absolutely have the‍ same decision, because 2-1 will not pass anything because the body is constituted⁤ of​ five people.”

Williams pointed out during Monday’s meeting that⁣ Marney is willing to serve‌ on a board at a time⁤ when the city is struggling to fully staff​ its ‌government committees.

Monday’s meeting saw the council approve the nomination of Anthony Fowler to the city’s Human Rights ⁣Commission.

“I⁤ think it ⁤is a poor show of sound judgment to refuse an individual who is volunteering to assist in filling a vacancy, especially when with ⁣committees and boards in our city we’ve highlighted that participation is an ongoing challenge,” Williams said of Marney during the meeting.

The ethics board is currently reviewing a complaint filed by Williams in December against⁤ former Councilman John Polimeni. The complaint alleges⁢ that Polimeni had been⁢ residing in Rotterdam since last spring while he served on the Schenectady council.

The ethics board ruled on‌ two complaints made against Farley in 2023, ⁣with the councilman cleared ⁤of two complaints. The first was brought by Polimeni ⁢pertaining⁤ to Farley’s employment⁣ contracts with the ⁢Schenectady City School District and unpaid state income taxes. A second complaint was subsequently brought by Schenectady Republican Party head Tom Kennedy (and subsequently took up by Schenectady Police Lt. ⁣Mike‍ Dalton) ​regarding⁢ calls that Farley made to a⁢ county dispatcher and Dalton in which Farley sought the return of a towed vehicle belonging to a friend.

“I think it’s a conflict ⁣of interest,” Ditoro said ⁢of Marney following Monday’s meeting. “He worked here in the corporation counsel office and knowing things that other people might ⁣not know and why the ethics complaints are ​out ‌there. I ​just think it’s a conflict of interest, personally.”

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Kiara Thomas
Kiara Thomas
I uncover quirky and compelling stories. Always on the lookout for the 'why' behind the 'what'.
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3 COMMENTS

  1. I disagree with the council’s decision to deny Marney’s nomination. She would have been a valuable addition to the Ethics Board.

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