County Legislature Democrats are proposing a law they say would prohibit county employees from working for local development corporations for two years after leaving their job.
Revolving-door employment has long been an issue in federal and state government. The term often refers to government employees who leave for private sector jobs, which in turn have some interaction with the government agencies or policy-making bodies that employed them. Democrats point to three examples involving former county employees:
• Richard Mackey, a former deputy county executive who played a role in negotiating the Upstate Telecommunications Corporation contract, and who became a consultant for UTC after leaving his county job;
• Steve Gleason, a former chief financial officer for the county who became CEO of Navitech, an LDC contractor, shortly after leaving county employment;
• Nelson Rivera, who resigned as the county's chief information officer shortly before he was charged with participating in an alleged bid-rigging scheme involving county-created LDC's. Rivera has pleaded not guilty to the charges and his case is moving through court. Democrats say Rivera now works at Blue Heron Consulting, which is a Monroe Safety and Security Systems LDC subcontractor.
Democrat Cynthia Kaleh is sponsoring the legislation, which would add the two-year prohibition into the county's code of ethics. During a press conference this afternoon, Kaleh said other governments and government agencies have established revolving-door employment bans. And she said that county law prohibits employees from "soliciting or accepting private employment" that can create a conflict, or a perception of a conflict, with their duties. Her legislation is trying to narrow that requirement to ensure it applies to LDC's, she said.
A representative for County Legislature Republicans said the caucus doesn't have an immediate statement to offer.
[UPDATE 4:40 p.m.] Legislature Republicans have said they will not be commenting on Kaleh's legislation.