Incredible as it may seem, Rensselaer County Republicans including North Greenbush Councilman Lou Desso and his GOP colleagues, voted along party lines to allow party officers to serve on the Board of Trustees at HVCC.
They showed a complete disdain for the lessons of history and regard for the ethical principles this law stood for for the past two decades. The law was passed by a Democratic Legislature and signed by a Republican County Executive at the height of the county insurance scandal when a powerful Democrat was on the college Board of Trustees. Shortly after its passage a GOP County Chairman, David Dudley resigned as party chair to keep his position on the county IDA where he was raking in more than a half million dollars in long secret IDA counsel fees disclosed only upon a court order. He showed respect for the law by choosing which post to retain.
Apparently when this hapless bunch of legislators appointed their more recent party chair to the Board without bothering to read the ethics law, it made things inconvenient for them. So along party lines they changed the law the same way they changed the county law to allow Lou Desso to hold a clearly conflicting seat on a town board while serving as a Legislator.
That's politics for you here in Rensselaer County. The floodgates to allowing political influence to dominate decisions at HVCC have now been opened with only County Executive Kathy Jimino standing in the way should she veto the law. We hope that upon careful reflection, her legacy will be to do the right thing and veto this bill taking ethics a giant step backwards in Rensselaer County.
You can read about the vote in the Times Union.