Implementing New Initiatives to Rebuild Trust in Town of Oyster Bay

In an effort to rebuild the trust of Oyster Bay Town residents, Supervisor Joseph Saladino has constructed a package of new ethics initiatives, including a new Town Ethics Code and the appointment and creation of an independent and enforcement mechanism designed to attain the highest ethics standards of any municipality.

Fulfilling his promise to create a new day in the Town of Oyster Bay, Supervisor Saladino said, “We have implemented a completely restructured Ethics Code, an entirely new chapter of our Town Code and an independent and autonomous Ethics Board for oversight and reform. Since taking office, we hit the ground running and I am pleased to introduce this new code, our Ethics Board and the appointment of a vastly experienced former federal prosecutor as our new Town Attorney. These are tremendous steps toward rebuilding the ethics policies of our Town and thus the trust of our residents.”

Supervisor Saladino, joined by Councilwoman Michele M. Johnson, noted that many of the new initiatives will be achieved with the assistance of a newly created Board of Ethics, as well as the appointment of a former federal prosecutor as the new Town Attorney.

“Joseph Nocella, a former federal prosecutor with an extensive background in municipal government, brings unprecedented credentials to his role,” Supervisor Saladino said. “I am confident he will enforce positive changes to the way the Town handles contract negotiations and renewals. He brings intensive oversight and will enforce the paramount ethical standards that our residents demand.”

As an example of his ethical and professional fortitude and prowess, Joseph Nocella was twice commended by the directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, including William Sessions, working under the direction of President George H. W. Bush, and Louis Freeh, working under the direction of President William Jefferson Clinton. He was recognized for his exceptional, above and beyond the call of duty effectiveness in investigating, prosecuting and convicting perpetrators of racketeering, extortion and fraud.

“It is a great honor to be chosen by Supervisor Saladino to be the new Town Attorney,” Town Attorney Nocella said. “The Supervisor has asked me to use my experience as a former federal prosecutor to enforce his new policies and procedures to prevent any fraud, waste or abuse, whether it be in contracts or by Town employees.”

In addition to stringent contract review, Town ethics reform initiatives have included the adoption of a new financial disclosure process which was created following recommendations from the State’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics, the agency that governs disclosure for New York State. The newly established board will review the most recent submissions of disclosure forms.

Supervisor Saladino further added that all Town employees will receive biannual training in ethical practice by a certified ethics trainer. The new Town Code also calls for the creation and distribution of training and educational materials outlining ethical guidelines for anyone intending to do business with the Town of Oyster Bay.

“In order to continue to create an ethical firewall in the Town of Oyster Bay, I ensured that no elected official was part of the interview or selection process of our new Ethics Board. This guarantees that the individuals selected were independent and autonomous,” Supervisor Saladino said. “In addition, our Ethics Board is extremely unique in that they have their own counsel separate from the Town Attorney and independent from the administration of this Town.”

The Supervisor noted that the five-member ethics board consists of all new members, none of whom are employed by the Town or any other municipality. Additionally, no more than two members of the board are enrolled in the same political party, ensuring diversity. The new Ethics Code further requires that the board meet at least once each quarter, however Supervisor Saladino has requested they meet more frequently in order to quickly get up to speed and consider the issues of the day. The Board must also submit an annual report to the Town Board, summarizing its activities.

“I am proud to join our Supervisor in announcing these initiatives we have been working on to help rebuild the trust of our residents,” Councilwoman Michele Johnson said. “Supervisor Saladino has demonstrated he has the leadership and wherewithal needed to bring positive changes to our Town.”

“These new initiatives, coupled with the appointment of our new Board of Ethics and new Town Attorney, help mark the dawn of a new day here in our great Town,” Supervisor Saladino said. “I very much look forward to working with the new board to help rebuild trust in the Town of Oyster Bay.”