When is something seemingly MINOR really something really MAJOR?

Amherst Municipal Building / Amherst Town Hall

Making changes to the Amherst Code of Ethics really should not be all that exciting, and most people would probably assume they would be necessary and not bother reading them. But it’s not that simple, and should be read, especially if you are currently appointed to a town advisory committee or board.

DRAFT Code of Ethics: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=4&ID=15412&MeetingID=3757

The new Code of Ethics first floated at the March 9, 2020 Town Board meeting at the start of the COVID-19 virus pandemic was the last public hearing where people could attend in person. Here is the justification given for this major change to the Amherst Code of Ethics.

“The purpose of this Local Law shall be to amend various sections of Chapter 19 of the Code of the Town of Amherst with respect to the list of officials, notice and verification of filing.”

Link: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=3612&MediaPosition=&ID=21723&CssClass=

This justification sounds reasonable and probably any changes would be necessary and relatively straight forward. Well the old code was six (6) pages long, but the proposed new code is twenty two (22) pages long!

► It was adjourned from the March 9, 2020 Town Board meeting, and moved to the May 26, 2020 Town Board meeting.

► It was adjourned from the May 26, 2020 Town Board meeting , and moved to the August 3, 2020 to the Town Board meeting.

► It was adjourned from the August 3, 2020 Town Board meeting , and moved to the September 21, 2020 to the Town Board meeting.

No substantive reason has been ever given for any of these previous adjournments other than it didn’t seem to be the right time. And no changes have ever been made to the DRAFT Code of Ethics since it was first made public on March 9, 2020!

The Bottom Line

► On September 21, 2020, guess what, it has been adjourned again and moved to the Town Board reorganization meeting on January 2, 2021! No reason was given!

It looks like this resolution will be buried in the reorganization meeting where many more important things are happening.

The Board of Ethics is currently one person short at four(4)  (five is full membership). On 12/31/2020 two(2) more members will be at the end of there appointments giving the Town Board the ability to appoint three (3) new members or a majority of this board.

There will be a time in future posts to examine the problems with the DRAFT Code of Ethics, and we have until the end of the year to do it. Keep tuned!

7 Responses to “When is something seemingly MINOR really something really MAJOR?”

  1. Diogenes’s Lantern says:

    Obviously, after all we have been through, the timely question all of Amherst has for the Board of Ethics is: Have you found any?

    Could all these adjournments be the result of our Amherst Government unsuccessfully scrambling to find some examples of ethics before they try to redefine the term?

  2. Sandra says:

    Does the revised Ethics rules permit town employees to work in private businesses which are the same or similar to their town tasks? There are certain town employees who seem to have a conflict with this. With the most glaring example being the Economic Development director (new Kulpa hire and also a Village employee who opened a private business to capture investors in Opportunity Zones. The Amherst staffer is also responsible for the towns Opp Zone at the Boulevard Mall. How is this not a glaring conflict under any ethics standards?
    Public employment is a position of trust and town residents should be assured that paid staff are working in the best interest of the town and not the staffers business interests. How does the ethics standards handle outside employment?

  3. Lois says:

    The same story has been circulating around town. If true, Amherst is saddled with the worst, most corrupt local government in decades.
    And, we thought we were voting for people of honesty, integrity, free from the phony, dishonest behavior of some politicians.

    In other words, the Amherst taxpayers are paying for town employees to work hand-in-glove with developers to expedite their pet projects while simultaneously working as an employment agency for friends and cronies to partake in picking the taxpayers’ pockets and/or piggybacking off the town to support other enterprises. This all happening during a global pandemic where many people are trying to survive but will nonetheless be obliged to pay for all their wasteful, mindless spending.

    No wonder they are trying to revamp the Ethics Board and finding it difficult to muster enough people who share their unethical ethics.


    Kulpa along with his “organization” is displaying the worst type of behavior at the expense of the taxpayers and stakeholders. This is exactly the result of what a dishonest one-party-rule does when given the opportunity and privilege of serving the people. Once elected, they work against the people, behind closed doors and proceed to serve themselves and their associates only. World-wide pandemic or not. Elections have consequences. Unfortunately, too many Amherst residents fell for the lies and lip service ladled out by just another group of sleazy, manipulative politicians.

    These people need a healthy dose of “checks and balances” because there are NONE now.

    We can’t throw them all out this year, but we can start by removing Assembly person Karen McMahon. The one who is unabashedly boasting about writing the law to transform our parkland, Audubon golf course, ball fields into more commercial development, and using language to deceive, calling it “Amherst Central Park.”

    First on the agenda of this “transformation” is UBMD. An enormous medical office complex, including another hotel with parking for an additional 1000 cars. It is akin to the existing Excelsior Orthopaedics, located roughly 1.6 miles away. UBMD will be on North Maplemere, and Maple Rd. thus creating a destructive, nightmarish “transformation” of neighborhoods in an entire area. The town’s Traffic Safety Board has acknowledged this unsafe, unhealthy nightmare.

    McMahon has no respect for the environment, people, both young and old and babies about to be born. Be sure to check her voting record before even considering putting two more years of power in her hands. Actions speak louder than words.

    Jacqui Berger is Brian Kulpa in stretch pants (but not as smart)- only interested in herself and special interest groups. Arrogance, incompetence and negligence of the people’s will should never be allowed in a representative government…And should certainly not be elevated to the State Senate when those characteristics have been exposed. Actions speak louder than words.

    Vote for the person not the party. This Democratic, one-party ruling is destroying us, our environment and our quality of life with impunity.

    Amherst deserves better.

  5. Frank Huntress says:

    Something peeked my interest as I watched the public hearings from this past Monday night. During the discussion about Muir Woods, I believe the attorney said that when presenting the new concept plan that ciminelli was willing to donate a lot greenspace to the town…asking for nothing back. We’re talking about ciminelli development, they are always looking for ways to come out ahead. Then it dawned on me that town already made the deal with ciminelli when it pushed through the sale of land to them for there huge medical office and parking garage at the northtown center. This reeks really bad to me…seems very shady

  6. Frank, great insight as to how most developers work. For both parties it usually proves mutually beneficial.

    Developers build long term relationships with town politicians and staff to exploit the “other opportunities” close inside connections bring. This isn’t new or unique to this Town Board, and was just as bad during the tenure of previous Town Board’s.


    Mr. Cantor,
    Your sentiments are that of most people. We are sadly witnessing the raping and demise of our parkland for more development that is totally without merit, unneeded and unwanted. For Westwood? NO THANK YOU! Kulpa and his slew of hired or appointed mini-mes are working in concert with the developers, most egregiously, Ciminelli. We the people, supposedly in a representative republic, are willfully being ignored and shut out of a twisted swap deal. They are using the Wuhan Virus to fast track development and slavishly catering to these developers and their agendas, regardless of consequences.

    Wait till these developers go to the IDA where Kulpa’s mini-mes will be waiting to hand out tax credits, forcing us to make up the difference in increased taxes. It is all, indeed, “DEPRAVED”

    McMahon should never again be in a position to alienate our parkland. Neither should Berger. Both are newcomers to the political arena and have epically failed at protecting the people, their safety, land and quality of life. Their actions and voting records speak louder than their words—the many empty words they are propagating during this election cycle.

    McMahon’s vote for “bail reform” makes us and our neighborhoods less safe. Her vote for “late term abortion” is revealing. Is she truly interested in preserving and protecting people, land and wildlife?

    Wolfgang and Rath will give us two needed voices to counter one party dominating over the peoples’ will and best interests.

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