ALBANY (June 29, 2016) ¬– The five members of the Albany County Ethics Commission convened for the first time Wednesday to select a chairperson and set its course.
Shari Calnero, a former senior counsel at the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics, will lead the five-person commission, which was formed by the Albany County Legislature to review complaints related to the conduct of public officials.
Also serving on the panel are: Joseph Teresi, a former state Supreme Court judge for more than 20 years; former state Supreme Court Justice Bernard J. Malone Jr.; Michael J. Rest, a former member of Guilderland’s Ethics Board; and Rev. James Lefebvre, a former pastor at St. Mary’s Church in Albany. Lefebvre was the last to be confirmed by the legislature for the volunteer positions in May.
The members met as a team for the first time Wednesday in the office of legislature Chairman Sean Ward, located at 112 State St., Albany. Ward, a Democrat from Green Island, thanked the five for agreeing to serve, and asked them to review the county’s ethics law that was adopted in 2011. Ward also assigned Maggie Alix, a senior policy analyst for the legislature, as staff person to assist the commission.
“This is going to be your commission,” Ward told members. “Proceed how you think you should.”
Calnero and Teresi were appointed to the ethics commission by Democratic Majority Leader Frank Commisso. Calnero worked nine years as senior counsel for the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), providing legal advice and serving as liaison to statewide agency ethics officers, employees and lobbyists from 2006 to 2015. A resident of Albany, she now works as associate counsel for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Teresi, of Delmar, served as a state Supreme Court judge for more than 20 years. Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy named Malone and Rev. Lefebvre to the commission, while Minority Leader Frank Mauriello chose Rest.
The ethics commission reviews the conduct of public officials with the goal of enhancing accountability and promoting integrity in government. It will meet at least once a year, and when called upon. The commission is empowered to offer guidance on potential conflicts of interest, when public officials should recuse from voting, financial disclosure requirements and more.