According to Section 1 of the Sweden Town Code, the entire Code of the Town of Sweden, is a local law as set forth in Subdivision 3 of Section 20 of the New York State Municipal Home Rule Law.
Using the propositional logic, described in an earlier article, makes it easier to see how the members of the Sweden Town Council are breaking the law.
- Subdivision 3 of §20 of the NYS Municipal Home Rule Law says a Town Code is a local law.
- The Sweden Town Council has a Town Code.
- Therefore, the Sweden Town Code is a local law.
Since the town code is a local law, violating the town code is a violation of the law.
- The Sweden Town Code is a local law.
- The Code of Ethics is Section 19 of the Sweden Town Code.
- Therefore, violating the Code of Ethics is a violation of the law.
So the question is this? Why do the members of the Sweden Town Council continue to break the law they are sworn to uphold?
The answer is simple: they don’t think anybody cares.
The political machine triumphs because it is united minority acting against a divided majority.
For example, it is pretty obvious that Councilman Robert Muesebeck and Council woman Danielle Windus-Cook are in clear violation of Section 19-5 A of the Sweden Town Code, which states quite clearly that certain forms of employment are forbidden.
§ 19-5. Standards of conduct.
A. No Town employee shall accept other employment which impairs the employee's independence of judgment in the exercise of the employee's official duties.
But according to the Danielle Windus-Cook Properties, LLC website, Councilman Robert Muesebeck is an employee of Danielle Windus-Cook Properties, LLC, which is owned by Council-woman Danielle Windus-Cook.
This clearly meets the description of employment that is forbidden by the law in Section 19.5A of the Sweden Town Code.
…employment which impairs the employee's independence of judgment in the exercise of the employee's official duties
It is a blatantly obvious conflict of interest.
When his employer has expressed her feelings on an issue, how could it not impair Councilman Muesebeck’s independence of judgment?
If Muesebeck wants to keep his job, he will feel compelled to vote the way his boss wants him to vote.
The fact that Muesebeck, and his boss Windus-Cook, are both on the Town Council means that they are both violating Section 19-5 A of the Sweden Town Code.
That violation of Section 19-5 A of the Sweden Town Code puts Councilman Muesebeck in an untenable situation.
Any decision he makes will undoubtedly be influenced by the way his boss feels about the situation.
If Muesebeck does not want to take the chance of angering his employer and losing his job, then he will almost certainly feel compelled to vote the same way she does on the matter, even if he disagrees with her position.
That is a clear conflict of interest.
Robert Muesebeck was a Republican Party candidate in the November 5, 2013 town election.
Either Muesebeck should have declined the nomination to run for the Sweden Town Council, or Council-woman Danielle Windus-Cook should have resigned from her position as a member of the Sweden Town Council when her employee was elected to the Town Council.
Their choice to ignore the conflict of interest is a clear violation of Section 19-5A of the Town of Sweden Code of Ethics.
Councilman Robert Muesebeck and Council-woman Danielle Windus-Cook are both breaking the law.
Unfortunately, even though Muesebeck and Windus-Cook have clearly broken the law, the law has no teeth.
Section 19-6 of the Sweden Town Code lays down the penalties for violating the Town of Sweden’s Code of Ethics.
But the wording of Section 19-6 of the Sweden Town Code is incredibly weak, even though it was amended on 12-27-2001,
§ 19-6. Penalties for offenses
In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law, any person who shall knowingly and intentionally violate any of the provisions of this code may be fined, suspended or removed from office or employment, as the case may be, in the manner provided by law.
Those are the kinds of weak, almost non-existent, penalties that corrupt politicians and sleazy lawyers love. The use of the word MAY guts the entire section of the law.
If the councilmembers are caught breaking the law, they may “be fined suspended or removed,” or they MAY be taken up to Abbotts Frozen Custard for an ice cream cone.
While they are up there, Muesebeck and Windus-Cook can check out the 485-B tax exemption that they didn’t even know Sweden Town Assessor Eaffaldano had granted to Abbotts.
They thought all the tax exemptions were granted by Monroe County.
Muesebeck and Windus-Cook may plead that they didn’t knowingly and intentionally violate the provisions of Section 19-5A of the Town Code.
But that doesn’t hold water.
There have been five articles about these conflicts of interest published on this website and numerous other articles about these conflicts of interest published on David Markham’s The Brockporter website.
There is no excuse any more for Councilman Robert Muesebeck and Council woman Danielle Windus-Cook.
It is clear that they have both broken the law, so they should both resign for the good of the community.
If they don’t resign, here’s all you have to do to report this conflict of interest to the New York State Attorney General’s Public Integrity Bureau.
- Click here to open the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Bureau’s Complaint Form.
- Fill out the form and describe the situation on the Sweden Town Council that you think is a violation of the law.
- If you need more space than the form provides, use a blank sheet of paper to type more information.
- Print the form and any additional sheets of paper.
- Mail the form and the additional sheets of paper to:
Office of the Attorney General
20 Broadway, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10271