The Town of Brookhaven Board of Ethics has been asked if it is permissible for a member of the Town Board to sit in on an Executive Session regarding the settlement of a legal matter directly related to that Board member’s actions. Furthermore the Board was asked if that Town Board member should recuse themselves from that portion of the work session as well as any vote and/or discussion on that matter at the Town Board meeting.
The Ethics Board has determined that this could potentially be a violation of the Code of Ethics and that the Town Board member should recuse himself/herself and not be present at that portion of the Executive Session dealing with this matter as well as recuse himself/herself during that portion of the Town Board meeting dealing with this specific matter.
Specifically sighting section 28-5, Section 4 (Recusal) of the Code of Ethics,
(a) A Town officer or employee shall promptly recuse himself or herself from acting on a matter before the Town when acting on the matter, or failing to act on the matter, may benefit any of the persons listed in Subsection A(2) of this section.
(b) Whenever a Town officer or employee is required to recuse himself or herself under this Code of Ethics, he or she:
 Shall promptly inform his or her superior, if any; Shall promptly file with the Town Clerk and Ethics Board a signed statement disclosing the nature and extent of the prohibited action or, if a member of a board, shall state that information upon the public record of the board; and Shall immediately refrain from participating further in the matter.
(c) Whenever a vote is required from which a Town officer or employee must recuse himself or herself, such recusal shall not be counted for the purpose of determining whether a majority or other ratio required by statute, local law, ordinance or resolution to pass a measure has been reached; provided, however, that no action may be taken by a body unless a majority of all of the members appointed or elected to such body, votes favorably. If a body is reduced below such majority by reason of a recusal required pursuant to this section, thereby causing an inability to act, the application shall be deemed denied.