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Beauty in Belmont by, Delleny Molisani

Wellsville town board ethics committee meets for close to two hours, public statement expected



A Town of Wellsville Ethics Committee meeting lasted 4 minutes and 21 seconds in public session and close to two hours in executive session on Wednesday night. The executive session was “to discuss a personnel matter that could involve employee discipline and or criminal prosecution.”

The findings of the committee will be announced by a statement from Patricia Graves, deputy town supervisor and elected to the town board, who also serves on the ethics committee.

Wellsville Town Attorney Mike Finn hosted the meeting at his law office on 22 W. State Street. He said it would be warmer than the airport hangar where the town currently meets.

Finn opened the meeting by asking who saw the complaint that led to an ethics committee meeting. Committee member Barb Hetzel raised her hand and said, “These are text messages that were given to me, and I believe it’s because I am the only one in the phone book. Andrew Harris gave them to me and the only one I have a concern with is the second to last page.”

Some disclosure on this subject: Harris also writes for the Wellsville Sun and was given the messages. He did not share them with this writer. He shared them with his attorney and they decided to hand them over to the ethics committee opposed to writing a story on them.

Finn and the other board members said they had not seen the complaints. Finn also acknowledged it was a public meeting and that the Wellsville Sun was welcome to attend. Read previous story about the meeting here:

Hetzel took the pages out of the envelope and handed them to Finn.

Finn thumbed through all the pages for one minute and 38 seconds and then announced, “Being that is presently an open meeting involving two town of Wellsville board members (Graves and Jesse Case), I think that it would be appropriate for Patty and or Jesse to make a motion to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter that could involve employee discipline and or criminal prosecution.”

Members of the ethics committee include Mark Johnson, Graves, Case, former Wellsville mayor Sue Goetschius, Don Stevens and Ron Lanphier. Around an hour into the executive session, one of the members left. It is unknown why.

Wellsville Town Supervisor Shad Alsworth, who is not on the committee, said he was not “privy to any of the information” but that Graves would be preparing a public statement.

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