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Baer complaint to be heard by county ethics board

Feb 03, 2011 7:01 am
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Hillsdale Supervisor Art Baer has filed for an ethics investigation into party caucus influence on county politics. Stay tuned. (Photo from ccscoop.com)"][/caption]The Columbia County Ethics Committee will take up allegations of misdeeds on the part of county officials against Hillsdale Supervisor Art Baer, who made the request for the committee's review. According to a piece in ccscoop.com, Baer’s allegations were made in a letter to media outlets that was penned in response to an opinion piece written by the heads of the county GOP, Conservative and Independence parties that demanded Baer, then the county’s budget officer, be removed from county responsibilities and alleged economic missteps on the former board chairman’s part. Columbia County Board of Ethics Chairperson Valerie Bertram, who is supervisor of the town of Stuyvesant, confirmed that the panel will take action on three topics when it next convenes, including the allegations made by Baer in his letter to the media. It is unclear which allegations will be specifically investigated, although Baer said his allegation of “an attempted quick ‘flip’ of land for a new County Commerce Park property at twice the price paid for it” by “county insiders” is being looked at. Besides Bertram, the board consists of attorneys Jason Shaw and John Friedman, as well as John Finley and former Austerlitz Supervisor George Jahn, county officials said.


It issues purely advisory opinions on matters. The advisory opinions can be sent to the Board of Supervisors, District Attorney, Attorney General or other agency or organization, Baer said. Bertram said a meeting of the board will occur as soon as the members – who were appointed or reappointed by the full Board of Supervisors in mid-January – are all sworn into office.

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