135 Marion Avenue Wynantskill, NY 12198 January 21, 2010 Town of North Greenbush Board of Ethics Town Offices 2 Douglas

Street Wynantskill, NY 12198 Dear Board Members: I respectfully request that you determine whether a Town Board member should recuse himself from a vote to approve a Residency Waiver and ultimately allow him to vote to appoint an individual to a paid town position who is providing a free service to a close family member. Upon information and belief, a person , Joshua Ehrlich, unlawfully holding an appointment as a Deputy Town Attorney in violation of a Public Officer’s Law requirement that he be a town resident, is providing FREE legal services to the brother of Councilman Al Spain. The services are being rendered in a civil case currently pending in Rensselaer City Court, North Greenbush Democratic Committee, Plaintiff vs. Jeffery Spain, Defendant. Attorney Ehrlich cannot legally hold the job he currently holds on the payroll of North Greenbush as a Deputy Town Attorney absent the Town Board approving a residency waiver from the NY State Public Officer’s Law. As a result of this situation, the Town Board majority supported by Councilman Spain, has voted 3-1-1 to hold a Public Hearing on January 28th at 6:45 PM to hear public comment on a proposed Local Law, attached, which if approved by the Town Board, would permit Mr. Ehrlich, a resident of Albany County with a criminal record, to be legally appointed by the Town Board. You should be aware that Councilman Louis Desso has recused himself from these proceedings upon his disclosure that another non resident attorney who would also benefit financially from an appointment as a Deputy Town Attorney, is currently representing him a civil matter before State Supreme Court. Upon information and belief, those legal service are being provided pro bono as well. I am concerned that any vote by Town Board members to use their voting authority to provide a financial benefit to individuals who are in turn, providing FREE legal services to either a Board member or a member of his family, creates an unacceptable appearance of a quid pro quo that can only be avoided by the recusal of the Board members from any participation in such legislation. Relevant sections of the Town Ethics Law, including but not limited to S13-4”No town employee shall use or attempt to use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for himself or other” may be violated as a result of any affirmative vote by Councilman Spain on this matter. I respectfully request your review of the circumstances surrounding Councilman Spain’s action to vote to approve the scheduling of the Public Hearing on January 28th and whether he should refrain from further participation at that hearing and any future vote to appoint Attorney Ehrlich should you determine that this attorney is in fact providing a financial benefit to the Board member’s brother in the form of free legal representation. Sincerely,

Charles B. Smith Enc(2)

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