Ethics committee taking form

ELIZABETHTOWN - Plans to create a Board of Ethics in Essex County are beginning to take shape as Board of Supervisors chair Randy Douglas announced his choices for committee appointments March 29.

Douglas, along with Vice-chair Roby Politi, chose two members of the public - Robert Lilly and Michael Orticelle - to sit on the newly formed committee along with county Attorney Dan Manning and county Personnel Department Manager Monica Feeley.

Together, the four will be given the task of revising the County's Code of Ethics and its Policy Manual, which sets standards for hiring, promoting, disciplining, and firing county personnel.

Douglas said his goal for the committee was to "make what we have on file now a little better so the public can rest assured that we're doing the right things in terms of transparency in government."

Lilly, a Newcomb resident, served as head of the county's Information Systems department from 1998 until his retirement in 2003. He has also served on an advisory committee for the county occupancy tax and several other municipal and nonprofit boards in the region.

Lilly said he was honored to be approached by Douglas and Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava at an New York Association of Towns meeting in February. While he has plenty of experience with meetings and government, he said this will be the furthest he's delved into ethical policy.

"I spent 28 years in the air force," Lilly said, "and we had ethical rules and regulations there as well."

Orticelle, a Saranac Lake resident, is a Criminal Justice professor at North Country Community College, and has served as a member of the North Elba-Lake Placid Joint Review Board.

"I think transparency and accountability are very important to public service," said Orticelle, which is why, when he heard of an Ethics committee being formed, he volunteered to take part.

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