Mayor Shayne Gallo said Monday that if the Common Council adopts an ethics law prohibiting specific political party activity by employees or elected officials he will veto it.Gallo is blowing serious smoke on this one. If anything, the law would prevent what Gallo says he fears (in fact, Gallo likely wants the opposite of what he says in the article).
Gallo said the law, which was crafted by Alderman Matthew Dunn, D-Ward 1, with help of Alderman Thomas Hoffay, D-Ward 2, prohibits the right of people to participate freely in elections.
By adopting such a law, Gallo said, party leaders would control fundraising efforts and prevent “grassroots campaigns” from occurring in the city and making elections only available “to the party’s elite candidates.”
“Should Mr. Dunn’s proposal be adopted it would be a throwback to the corrupt, bygone days of Boss Tweed,” Gallo said.
Kirby then offers us a bit of analysis of the language in question, which is something I had been a bit confused over:
Among other things, the Dunn/Hoffay ethics proposal would prevent the mayor and city department heads from holding “political party office.”"Substantial policy discretion" is shorthand for "in a position to dole out lots of crony jobs." In other words, the law would impose a thin firewall between policy and politics. Yet Gallo threatens a veto of this legislation, which was written by members of his own party.
It also says that “a city officer or employee, the mayor and department heads shall not directly or indirectly ask anyone to contribute to the political campaign of a city officer or employee running for any elective office or the political campaign of anyone running for elective city office.”
Gallo has said he considers these provisions “unconstitutional.”
However, Dunn supplied an email from Mark Davies, who is executive director of the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board, and it says that “such restrictions are fairly common” for elected officials.
In the email, Davis says that the New York City prohibits officials with “substantial policy discretion” including elected officials such as the mayor from holding political party positions.”
Gallo seems to be on the wrong foot constantly, these days. He opposes Hein's plan for a SUNY Ulster satellite in downtown Kingston, then he's for it, then he wants to change the location. I have no idea where he stands now.
And he continues to be out-of-step on this ethics law, something on which he campaigned. Not cool.
But the voters will remember. One thing people can't stand is inconsistency. It's okay to be wrong if you're honest about it, as people respect individuals who can admit a mistake or thoughtfully change their minds.
But constantly shifting one's position is political suicide. Gallo's repeated stumbles on these issues will come back to haunt him.