MALTA – Prior to the Malta Town Board agenda meeting on Monday, April 28, Town Attorney Thomas Peterson read a letter of counsel arising out of findings from the town ethics committee, which had affirmed its earlier findings of misconduct by Town Clerk Flo Sickels.
The ethics committee recommended that the town board “…issue a letter of counsel to the Town Clerk expressing its disapproval with the violations…” to Ms. Sickels, and further that she be required to attend live ethics training and show proof of attendance.
The letter of counsel from the town board, which was approved by a 3-0 vote (with Councilperson Tara Thomas recusing and Councilperson John Hartzell absent), changed a key word “required” to “recommended” ethics training.
Tax Receiver Linda Bablin, who initiated the original complaint last September, noted this nuance:
“This letter of counsel is a joke,” she said “They couldn’t even follow the Ethics Committee’s recommendation, which stated Sickels should be “Required to attend live ethics training and furnish to the Town Board evidence of completing the training.”
“All they did was suggest she attend ethics training.” Ms. Bablin continued. “Every committee, every elected official and every department head was already “required” to attend the ethics training put on by the Town on March 7. Some of these people are paid employees and were not even compensated for that. Sickels chose not to attend that training. Since she is the only one who has been found “guilty” of unethical behavior, the fact that the Board opted for an even lesser consequence for her and her actions, is deplorable.”