Niagara Gazette

Local News

October 20, 2013

Niagara Town Board looks to ethics panel over insurance coverage issue; wants town finances checked out

Niagara Gazette — TOWN OF NIAGARA — Three of the town’s four board members have asked a local ethics panel to investigate embattled Supervisor Steve Richards’ handling of insurance coverage for town employees and their domestic partners. 

During a meeting this week, council members Charles Teixeira, Rob Clark and Marc Carpenter agreed to ask town’s ethics board to investigate whether Richards initiated changes to the town’s insurance coverage without input or approval from the town board. 

Council members who supported the measure say information obtained from the human resources department suggests the changes, which allowed for coverage of town employees’ domestic partners, were implemented last February. They also believe the move may have cleared the way for an employee of Richards’ privately owned auto repair shop — who was in a relationship with a town clerk at the time — to obtain health insurance under the municipality’s coverage plan.

While not necessarily opposed to the town allowing domestic partners to qualify for coverage, Teixeira said Richards lacked the authority to arbitrarily institute any coverage changes. He said all alterations should be discussed and authorized by the town board with involvement from representatives of the town employees’ union. 

“This is something that should have been discussed,” he said. “It’s not that we’re against it, but this is a paid benefit to employees and it’s something that should have been reviewed by the town board and discussed with the union.” 

The ethics board is comprised of three residents who are appointed by the town board. Ethics board members have the power to render advisory opinions upon written request. According to the law establishing the body, the opinions are to be “advisory and confidential” in nature and are not be disclosed except to “authorized persons and agencies.”  

“There might be more action we can take once we find out what’s going on,” Teixeira said. “It’s just a first step to get it out there and try to get some more information.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
Poll

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results