County ethics board clears legislator

by Carol Thompson

The Oswego County Ethics Board has cleared Legislator Terry Wilbur of any conflict-of-interest in relation to his employment with two state assembly members.

Wilbur is employed by Assemblyman Will Barclay and Assemblyman Bob Oaks.  In a July 30 decision, the ethics board ruled that there was no inherent conflict of interest with the office of county legislator.

The board did note that there may be “facts or circumstances which (sic) arise on occasion where there is an appearance of a conflict or  actual conflict of interest.”

The ethics board also considered a vote to retain the law firm Hiscock and Barclay, of which Will Barclay is a partner. Wilbur voted on the contract, leaving the question of whether he had an indirect conflict.

“There is no evidence that Legislator Wilbur has a direct pecuniary or personal interest in the retainer agreement approved as a state employee and, further, if an abstention were recorded, the outcome of arrangement approved by two other municipalities would not change.”

It continues, “That said, it could be construed as creating an appearance of a conflict without  further explanation to the county legislature, or others, of the fact Mr. Wilbur is a State Assembly employee and the recommended course of action in the future would be abstention in a similar circumstance to avoid same.”

The state defines a conflict of interest as a “variety of situations which all have one thing in common: an individual with divided loyalties, such as when a person has to act on behalf of the public in connection with a matter that affects his or her personal interests.”

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