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Westchester County Executive George Latimer and County Legislator Kitley Covill are advocating for bill, introduced by Covill, aimed at strengthening the ethics laws which govern those who serve the people of Westchester County.

Latimer said: “We have been sent here to serve – and to that point we are entrusted with the public’s funds and the ability to make policy. In today’s political climate, it is important that the people know they have elected leaders who place that trust above all else.”

Seeking to bring further accountability to County Government, following the recent passage of stricter term limits on his own office proposed by Latimer himself, this newly introduced legislation would result in stronger ethics training and enhanced whistleblower protections for County employees. The Term Limits legislation submitted and signed by Latimer reduced the existing three-term limit (12 years) for County Executives enacted in 2011 in Westchester, down to two terms (eight years).

The proposed legislation, which would apply to all current and some former officers and employees of the County, whether paid or unpaid, including the members of any County department, agency, board or commission and the members and employees of the County Legislature and Independent Contractors of the County, would repeal and replace Chapters 192 and 883 with this new Code, “which sets forth a clear and comprehensive code of ethics in order to ensure both the reality and the appearance of integrity in County government, and to thereby foster public confidence in County government.”

This proposed legislation sets forth a new Code of Ethics regarding use of County position for:

In the legislation, the purpose of the law is outlined as “Officers and employees of the County hold their positions to serve and benefit the public; not to obtain unwarranted personal or private gain in the exercise and performance of their official powers and duties.  The County recognizes that, in furtherance of this fundamental principle, there is a need for clear and reasonable standards of ethical conduct. This Code of Ethics establishes those standards.”

Covill said: “Today I am introducing a new Ethics Code which will provide clear, readable plain language, and which sets forth ethical guideposts for officers and employees of Westchester County.  I, together with The Board of Ethics, worked many months to get this right and am proud to stand here with a County Executive who supports this type of model ethics legislation.  The Board of Legislators will now take up this proposed law and we expect a robust dialogue in the coming weeks.”