MILTON – Town Board member and supervisor candidate Barbara Kerr was found to be in violation of the town’s ethic’s code for sitting on the board of the Women’s Republican Club.
Shannon Doherty lodged the complaint against Kerr after Kerr spoke out against Megan Soden’s appointment to the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals while Soden was a member of the Milton Republican Committee.
“She sat up there and said that Megan shouldn’t be on the Zoning Board because she was on the Republican Committee,” Doherty said. “Then, town board members should take the high road and not be a member of a political club. That’s why I filed the complaint.”
The ethics board’s finding, announced at Wednesday’s Town Board meeting, is the latest episode in Milton’s political soap opera. Accusations among board members and the public have marked the lead-up to elections, as they also try to solve budgetary problems and address a controversial senior development planned for Hutchins Road.
The ethics committee found Kerr was violating sections 14-15 of the code that states “No Town officer or employee shall hold any office in a political party or political organization” and that “No Town officers or Town employees shall serve a as committeeperson of any political party or political organization,” the same section that Kerr pointed to when she opposed Soden’s appointment.
Kerr said in a statement she was disappointed by the Ethics Board decision.
“I still respect their decision and support our Ethics Board and will continue to uphold our ethics law,” said Kerr, who has resigned from the club, which supports Republican-endorsed candidates at fundraisers and other events.
Kerr believes that town of Milton Republican Chairwoman Anna Stanko was behind the ethics complaint. Kerr said Stanko is angry that Kerr is challenging the town Republican Committee’s pick, board member Scott Ostrander, in a September primary for the supervisor’s seat. Kerr believes the complaint was an attempt to discredit her.
“The voters in the Town of Milton are smart enough to see through this nonsense,” Kerr’s statement read. “They are tired of petty political attacks and the petty action of the powers that be.”
Doherty reacted angrily to the statement, hurrying to the public podium saying that her complaint was “not political, but she is trying to make it a political issue.”
Stanko, too, shouted into the microphone at Kerr, saying the complaint has nothing to do with her and this was Kerr “not taking responsibility for her actions.”
“I’m sorry, but you were found guilty of ethics violations,” Stanko said.
Others speaking decried the state of civility.
Tom Boghosian came forward to tell the board that they are “a laughing stock.”
“We deserve and want more,” he said. “Please deliver it.”
Town Board member Benny Zlotnick, watching the vitriol, said he is “tired of it.”
“Since 1969, I wanted to do something for this town,” Zlotnick said. “It’s getting harder and harder to sit here when we are going in five different directions. We have a job to do and we have to work together.”
Later he said, “We look like a bunch of dummies. It’s time for everyone to grow up and stop chastising each other. We have to get on the same page before it’s too late. Somebody has got to be an adult.”
The next town board meeting is Wednesday, Sept. 6.